Many people believe that the name “pharaohs” was given to the Marathon that they do every year in Egypt because it runs in the land of the pharaohs. But, as a mater of fact the Marathon has a story of origin.

 It happened in 1977 that a military officer come to meet my colleague the late Ahamed Moussa, who also was the Director of Saqqara at that time.

 The officer told Moussa that there was an inscribed stone with hieroglyphics found and the stone was still in the army camp. Moussa went to the camp and began to read the inscriptions it was surprising.

The inscription was talking about a training Marathon that was done by the pharaoh’s soldiers during the reign of King Taharqa who ruled Egypt from 690 BC to 660 BC.

The King of Egypt, Taharqa went to the soldiers camp to see what was happening because he wanted to have a strong army to defend Egypt against the Assurians. Therefore, he took San El-Hagar in the eastern delta as the capital instead of Luxor to be near the eastern borders of Egypt .

Taharqa left Upper Egypt to be controlled by one of his faithful leaders named Mentomhat. The king then focused his mind on how to protect Egypt against the enemy ?

And wanted to have a strong army and well trained.

He always used to see their training in the desert of Memphis. King Taharqa found that his soldiers are in a good health, well trained and they used their skill in getting good result in the Marathon.

He made a decisions that the soldiers should make a training Marathon so they ran from Saqqara , Memphis, Dahshur , Lisht , Meidum and the end of the Marathon was at the Pyramid of Hawara at Fayoum . The Marathon was about 100 km.

I am very glad that we renew the pharaohs glory and make the same Marathon that happened more that 2500 years ago. It is amazing to find this coincidence. I believe that everyone should remember this story and a copy of that stone should be given to the winner of the Marathon.

 Zahi Hawass

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