| Event type

Marathon, Men

Date21 October 1964 — 13:00
LocationKokuritsu Kyogijo, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Participants68 from 35 countries
Format42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) out-and-back.
Olympic Record 2-15:16.2 WR / Abebe Bikila ETH / 10 September 1960

Defending champion Abebe Bikila was back and was considered the favorite, having lost only one marathon in his career to that point – the 1963 Boston race. But he had several strong contenders, among them the American Buddy Edelen, who in 1963 had broken the world record with 2-14:28 in the Polytechnic race in Britain, and had also won the Košice marathon in Czechoslovakia in 2-15:09.6. Britain had two top marathoners in Basil Heatley and Brian Kilby. Japan was led by Toru Terasawa, who had won the 1963 Fukuoka Marathon, and broken the world record early in 1963 at the Beppu Marathon.

But there was only Bikila. The race began at 1 PM, and was contested over a very flat straight out-and-back course. Bikila ran in the lead pack right from the start. By the turnaround point, this time running in shoes, he was leading by 15 seconds, and from there to the finish, he simply extended the lead, winning by over four minutes. Heatley finished second, but had been third entering the stadium. Third went to a native son, not Terasawa, but rather Kokichi Tsuburaya. Brian Kilby finished fourth, and Buddy Edelen, hampered by a sciatic nerve injury, placed sixth.

Tsuburaya was crushed that he had been passed on the track by Heatley in front of the Japanese crowd. He vowed to improve and pushed himself in training, but it resulted in multiple injuries. Finally, in early January 1968, he committed suicide by slashing his carotid artery with a razor blade. The note he left said simply, “Cannot run anymore.”

1100Abebe BikilaETH2-12:11.2GoldWB
2186Basil HeatleyGBR2-16:19.2Silver
3795Kokichi TsuburayaJPN2-16:22.8Bronze
4187Brian KilbyGBR2-17:02.4
5293József SütőHUN2-17:55.8
6758Buddy EdelenUSA2-18:12.4
744Aurèle VandendriesscheBEL2-18:42.6
8829Kenji KimiharaJPN2-19:49.0
912Ron ClarkeAUS2-20:26.8
1099Demissie WoldeETH2-21:25.2
11404Lee Sang-HunKOR2-22:02.8
12436Bakir Ben AissaMAR2-22:27.0
13115Eino OksanenFIN2-22:36.0
14722Billy MillsUSA2-22:55.4
15830Toru TerasawaJPN2-23:09.0
16402Kim Yeon-BeomKOR2-24:40.6
17363Giorgio JegherITA2-24:45.2
1890Václav ChudomelTCH2-24:46.8
19166Ron HillGBR2-25:34.4
20113Paavo PystynenFIN2-26:00.6
21428Fidel NegreteMEX2-26:07.0
22690Nikolay TikhomirovURS2-26:07.4
23759Peter McArdleUSA2-26:24.4
24253Heinrich HagenGER2-26:39.8
2591Pavel KantorekTCH2-26:47.2
26692Nikolay AbramovURS2-27:09.4
27475Ray PuckettNZL2-27:34.0
28114Eino ValleFIN2-27:34.8
29473Jeff JulianNZL2-27:57.6
3074Ricardo VidalCHI2-28:01.6
3122Bob VaggAUS2-28:41.0
32590Guido VögeleSUI2-29:17.8
33320Balkrishan AkotkarIND2-29:27.4
34409Jean AnisetLUX2-29:52.6
3554Thin SumbwegamMYA2-30:35.8
36539Constantin GrecescuROU2-30:42.6
37292János PintérHUN2-30:50.2
38254Gerhard HönickeGER2-33:23.0
39255Manfred NaumannGER2-33:42.0
40362Antonino AmbuITA2-34:37.6
41589Oskar LeupiSUI2-35:05.4
42474Ivan KeatsNZL2-36:16.8
43319Harbans LalIND2-37:05.8
44522Armando AldegalegaPOR2-38:02.2
45389Chrisantus NyakwayoKEN2-38:38.6
46465Constantino KapambweZAM2-39:28.4
47595Omari AbdallahTAN2-40:06.0
48482Muhammad YoussefPAK2-40:46.0
49390Naftali TemuKEN2-40:46.6
50403Ju Hyeong-GyeolKOR2-41:08.2
51531Mathias KandaZIM2-41:09.0
5213Tony CookAUS2-42:03.6
53429Víctor PeraltaMEX2-44:23.6
54463Trev HaynesZAM2-45:08.6
55528Abraham FornésPUR2-46:22.6
56530Robson MrombeZIM2-49:30.8
57464Laurent ChifitaZAM2-51:53.2
58608Chanom SirirangsriTHA2-59:25.6
AC324Jim HoganIRLDNF
AC846Ganga Bahadur ThapaNEPDNF
AC845Bhupendra SilwalNEPDNF
AC691Viktor BaykovURSDNF
AC616Mohamed Hadheb HannachiTUNDNF
AC391Andrew SoiKENDNF
AC2Osvaldo SuárezARGDNF
AC98Mamo WoldeETHDNF
AC618Hedhili Ben BoubakerTUNDNF
AC780Nguyễn Văn LýVNMDNF
DNS45Alberto GarabitoBOL
DNS46Alejo MontanoBOL
DNS147Jean-Louis BrugierFRA
DNS411Suliman Fighi HassanLBA
DNS538Dumitru ChitobanROU
DNS60Bruce KiddCAN
DNS291Lajos MecserHUN
DNS413Jean RandrianjatavoMAD
DNS449Ryu Man-HyongPRK
DNS67Ranatunge KarunanandaSRI
DNS615Mohamad GammoudiTUN