The Postal Service commemorated marathons with the issuance of a 32-cent commemorative stamp on April 11, 1996, in Boston, Massachusetts, in conjunction with the 100th running of the Boston Marathon. The stamp went on sale nationwide April 12.
Designed by artist Michael Bartalos of San Francisco, California, the stamp expresses the joy of running and the pleasures of healthy and active participation. The whimsical winged feet allude to the legend of the fleet-footed Greek god Hermes. According to legend, in 490 BC a Greek named Pheidippides ran approximately twenty-five miles from Marathon to Athens with the news of a great military victory. To commemorate Pheidippides' run, the first marathon was held at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The first marathon in the United States was held the same year in New York. The first Boston Marathon followed on April 19, 1897.
The Banknote Corporation of America, Inc. printed the stamp in the offset process.
Postal Bulletin (March 14, 1996).