History - Spiridon, since 1972

spiridon history review magazine archive running marathon trail history



" It is no coincidence that they chose the first name of the first Olympic Marathon champion to make it the title of this review that is at once egalitarian, hedonistic and furiously inspired ", 
Jean-Philippe Lefief, "The Crazy History of Trail Running" , Guérin-Eds Paulsen.


A modest Greek runner who came from nowhere, with no notable future, became, to everyone's surprise, Olympic champion in the marathon of the first Olympic Games of the modern era. Athens, 1896.



It is no coincidence that its founders chose to name their running magazine SPIRIDON, the first issue of which appeared in April 1972. From the outset, they imagined their magazine as a forum to celebrate ALL runners . Not just champions; but also the dilettantes, the men, the women, the young people, the old ones whom they encourage to run freely in "an atmosphere of recreation, conviviality and humanity which one did not find in traditional athletics " .



At the time, long-distance running was reserved for a male elite, that of stadiums and athletics leagues. It is synonymous with suffering, performance, competition. We don't run for fun. We run to win. Women are relegated to short distances. No more than 800 m in competition. Young people and seniors are set aside, deemed not efficient enough. Coaches only want champion seed.

Outside the stadiums, races are almost non-existent. In France, practically nothing is done outside the Athletics Federation.

Spiridon will help change this by organizing (and supporting) the first " free races ". Thus, the magazine participates in the birth, in 1974, of one of the first mountain races, which has become legendary for trailers, "Sierre-Zinal" (the Race of Five 4000).

spiridon sierre zinal trail marathon archives vintage running

She is also present alongside Jean-Claude Moulin when he launched, in 1973, "Marvejols-Mende", despite the threats of sanctions promised by the supervisory authorities of athletics. The event welcomes champions and anonymous, licensees and amateurs, track racers and drivers, men and women, young and old in a party atmosphere never seen before.

The other motto of the Spiridon movement, which advocates pleasure in effort, is: " the performance of agreement, the party first ". It's a revolution. The Spiridon spirit was born.



Everywhere in France, but also in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Quebec, runners now wear, as a sign of belonging to the movement, the flocked orange T-shirt of the little barefoot man designed by Karel Matejovsky with this slogan " Everyone run with us! "

What some have called “the Spiridon phenomenon” draws much of its substance from broken down barriers. Spiridon has helped revolutionize the world of running by defending free running and running for fun, but also by fighting for running for all.



spiridon kathrine zwitzer archives 1970 marathon runner history sport running
From 1972, the magazine got involved alongside Kathrine Switzer , heroine of the feminist cause in the United States and even invited her to take part clandestinely in the Morat-Fribourg race. The right of women to run the same distances as men will be one of the biggest fights led by the magazine. Fight won in France in 1980, when women will finally be allowed to participate in races over 5,000 m.



By advocating non-stadium racing, Spiridon also claims a return to nature. The magazine encourages runners to reclaim their natural environment. A parallel is made between the sobriety of the places of practice (dirt road) and the stripping of the outfit (shorts, a pair of shoes, a T-shirt). The effort is all the healthier when the practice has nature as its framework.

Finally, "the Spiridon spirit" is due to the personality and the brilliant pen of the journal's contributors who have breathed poetry and spirit into their movement. By promoting a healthy, free and natural vision of running, they invented a new philosophy and contributed to a real revolution, both sporting and cultural.


Freedom, generosity, pleasure, inclusion, respect for people and nature. Such are the "spiridonian" values. Values ​​which are dear to us as human beings and runners and which we believe, more than ever, are important to defend today.