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).