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Charles Hefferon

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameCharles Augustus•Hefferon
Used nameCharles•Hefferon
Born25 January 1878 in Newbury, West Berkshire, England (GBR)
Died13 May 1932 in Brampton, Ontario (CAN)
Measurements175 cm / 66 kg
AffiliationsOlympic Sports Club, Cape Town (RSA)
NOC South Africa


Born in Newbury, Berkshire to an Irish father and English mother, Charles Hefferon grew up on a farm near Brandon, Manitoba, where his family emigrated when he was little. In early 1901, he enlisted with the British Army and served with the South African Constabulary during the Boer War. At the end of the conflict, Hefferon remained in South Africa and worked as a prison guard in Bloemfontein. He was the South African 4 miles champion from 1904-08, but at the South African Olympic trial marathon in 1908, Hefferon did not perform very well, dropping out after 11 miles. The members of the South African Amateur Athletic Union had so much confidence in Hefferon that they decided to send him to the London Olympics instead of Ken McArthur, who won the trials. At London, Hefferon at first finished fourth in the 5 mile event and then won silver in the marathon. Hefferon led the field during most of the marathon, but a draught of champagne just two miles from home caused him stomach cramps and he was overtaken by Dorando Pietri, who was later disqualified and Johnny Hayes.

After the 1908 Olympics, Hefferon returned to South Africa and won national titles at 4 miles and 10 miles in 1909, but then turned professional and moved to England. As a professional, Hefferon won the English 4 miles and 10 miles championships in 1910, but then moved back to Canada in 1912 and settled on a farm near Simcoe, Ontario. During World War I, he enlisted again and served with the Royal Canadian Dragoons. After the war, Hefferon was acting chief of police in Dunnville before transferring to the Ontario Provincial Police. He worked on special assignments in Hamilton and then moved to motorcycle patrol with the Department of Highways in Brantford, Blenheim and starting in 1930 in Brampton.

On 12 May 1932, Hefferon was on duty and when trying to proceed through an intersection in Derry West on Brampton Highway, sounded his siren but was hit by a motorist who later claimed he did not see the officer approaching. Hefferon died at Peel Memorial hospital in Brampton the next morning without regaining consciousness. The motorist was charged with dangerous driving and released on $2,000.00 bail.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-56:06 (1908).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics RSA Charles Hefferon
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
5 miles, Men (Olympic) 4
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
3,200 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) DNS


Previously name given as Charles Archie Hefferon and death date as 15 May 1931 in Orangeville, Ontario, but those are not supported by official documents.