Marathon was the son of Epopeus, king of Sicyon. He founded the town of Marathon to escape from his father's poor government. The town itself, famous for giving its name to the great race called the 'marathon' (the first such run being that of the messenger who ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to bring news of victory in 490 BC), is said to be so called since it was overgrown with fennel, marathron.