In 490 BC Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, ran 25 miles to Athens from the town of Marathon. He ran to announce a battleground victory over the Persians. This is considered to be the first Marathon. Marathon made its return at the modern Olympic Games in Greece in 1896. In that event, 17 runners ran 40 km, with Greek runner Spyridon Louis taking the gold medal. Inspired by the success of the event, Boston inaugurated its race the next year; it is now the oldest annual marathon in the world. More than 800 marathons are held throughout the world every year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes as large marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.