I came about an amusing race report by Pheidippides on the Complete Running Network that I wanted to pass along. See the Marathon Race Report from 490 BC.
This leads me to one of my running pet peeves. When you mention that you're running a marathon, some smart guy always mentions that the person, Pheidippides, who started the marathon, died at the end. They always seem to find themselves to be so clever and somehow better for being so smart as to not work so hard to run a marathon because of this superior knowledge. That, or you get people like Laura's manager who told her she wasn't a runner unless she could run faster than some random celebrities.
My guess is Pheidippides didn't stretch before or after (definitely not after), ingest any Clif Shots or take sodium tablets to balance his salt. He probably wasn't drinking Gatorade to keep his electrolytes up. My guess is that he also didn't carbo-load two nights before the run.
Just a guess....