DC_160422_TraditionHistory tells us that in 490 BC, a soldier named Pheidippides ran about 40 Km to Athens with the news of the great Greek victory over the Persians at Marathon. After he delivered his message, “Nenikikamen” (meaning “Rejoice we conquer”)  Pheidippides died.

Pheidippides belongs to the age-old global tradition of running messengers, intrepid, dedicated and highly trained runners who covered enormous distances to convey royal commands, military orders, legal summonses, news of the day, love notes, and every other kind of text message in every human society before the invention of the railroads. The very word “courier” (message carrier) means “runner” from Latin “currere,” “to run,” which also gives us words like “current” (the latest news), “course” (something you run along), and “cursor” (something that runs around your screen).

The messengers’ achievements go far back in time. In 1080 B.C., a “Man of Benjamin” ran 26 miles with vital war news, so the Bible says (1 Samuel 4). The Persian messengers of the Turkish sultan ran regularly from Constantinople to Adrianople, 200 miles, in two days and nights. The couriers of pre-Spanish Peru covered that mountainous empire at the rate of 150 miles a day, using a relay system that pre-dated the Pony Express by a millennium, and often carrying fresh groceries from the coast to the mountain towns, as well as messages.

Japan boasts her famous messengers, the Hikyaku, who wore only a thin loincloth and straw sandals and would cover about 80 miles per day from Ezo (today’s Hokkaido) to Nagasaki in the far southwest. Some of Europe’s running footmen were similarly minimalist. A 1615 English description of a typical footman says, “He lives more by his own heat than the warmth of clothes.” Some seem to have worn a short kilt that prompted a report that, “Our village maids delight to see the running footman fly bare-arsed along the dusty road.”

An Australian aboriginal known as Black Andy, a farm servant in New Zealand in the 1860s, regularly carried the mail between South Canterbury and Christchurch, taking less than 24 hours to run 100 miles on dirt roads with several dangerous river crossings. Knowing his weakness for brandy, Andy got into the habit of checking himself into the Christchurch police cells overnight to keep out of trouble.

At Deadline Couriers we continue this long tradition of “runners” with pride and knowing the responsibility of carrying our clients messages safely and on time. And while thankfully our Couriers wear more than loin clothes these days and do not die after each drop off, they share the dedication of their predecessors.

Deadline Delivered!


Let us continue our running tradition, call us for any information about our local Dublin courier, urgent (direct) courier, door to door national parcel delivery and express international transport services at 00353 1 661000 or email us at info@www.deadline.ie