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Ken McArthur

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKennedy Kane "Ken"•McArthur
Used nameKen•McArthur
Nick/petnamesBig Ken
Born10 February 1882 in Dervock, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland (GBR)
Died13 June 1960 in Potchefstroom (RSA)
Measurements188 cm / 77 kg
NOC South Africa


Ken McArthur was born in County Antrim, Ireland but emigrated to South Africa some time around 1900, when he volunteered as a member of the Baden-Powell South African Constabulary. After the Anglo-Boer War he remained in South Africa, joining the police. He rarely rode his patrol on horseback, preferring to walk his rounds, and he would eventually leave the service as a sergeant in 1931. McArthur first ran a near-marathon distance in April 1908 in Johannesburg, which he won in 2-20:30. From that year through 1910 he ran five marathons, winning every race, all in South Africa. His Olympic marathon win in 1912 was his sixth victory at the distance, which he left undefeated, as a foot injury in 1913 ended his running career. After his police career ended he retired to his native Dervock, but later returned to South Africa, where he lived to the end of his life.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-36:54.8 (1912).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1912 Summer Olympics Athletics RSA Ken McArthur
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
3,000 metres, Team, Men (Olympic) South Africa DNS

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1912 Summer Olympics 14 July 1912 Athletics Marathon, Men Final Standings 2-36:54.8 1