WHEREAS the Marathon Flame and Laurel Wreaths are coming from Greece to mark the 2,500th Anniversary celebrations of the first "marathon run" of Pheidippides in 490BC.
The Marathon Flame was established in 2007 to reflect the spirit of the marathon, of fair competition and the promotion of sport as a way of life and a symbol of world peace. The Laurel Wreaths, made from the olive branches of trees at the site of the Battlefield of Marathon will be presented to the Champions of Toronto Waterfront Marathon bas symbols of victory and excellence.
In 490BC a brave Athenian soldier-messenger named Pheidippides ran 40 kilometres from the battlefield at Marathon to Athens, to carry the news of a famous Greek victory. Legend has it that Pheidippides reached Athens, exclaimed "Nenikèkamen" ("We are victorious"), then died from exhaustion.
In 1896, a marathon footrace of 40 kilometres was created as the "final, climactic event" of the first, Modern Olympic Games and "the marathon" as we know it was born. The distance was set at 42.195 kms in 1908.
This year, almost 1 million people will finish an organized marathon race in some corners of the world. It has become a global mass movement that places host cities on the world stage.
It is a great honour for all residents of Toronto, not just the 250,000 Greek Canadians in the GTA, to host the Marathon Flame and its ideals, and to celebrate the marathon event that began in Greece.
As a mass movement, the marathon has become synonymous with achievement, with the pursuit of excellence, with what everyday people can achieve through dedication, determination and courage as well as through fair competition and healthy lifestyles.
These are values that all Torontonians can embrace with pride, to make us all better citizens, and Toronto a better city.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mayor David Miller, do hereby proclaim " as "Marathon Week in Toronto." I congratulate and applaud all the organizers and the volunteers involved in this week's many celebrations.