| Event type

Marathon, Men

Date30 August 1904
LocationFrancis Field, Washington University, St. Louis
Participants32 from 4 countries
Format40,000 metres (24.85 miles) point-to-point.

The race was 40 km. and was held on a 90° F. (32° C.) day. In addition it was run over dusty country roads, and the lead automobiles kicked up so much dust that the runners practically choked on it throughout the race. There was also only one water stop on the course, that being a well at 12 miles.

Among the Americans there were several top distance runners. Sammy Mellor, winner of the 1902 Boston Marathon; John Lordon, winner of Boston in 1903, Mike Spring, winner of Boston in 1904, and Arthur Newton, who had finished fifth at Paris in the 1900 Olympic marathon. The top foreign distance runners were not present, but a 5-foot tall Cuban named Félix Carvajal had come to St. Louis.

Carvajal had raised money for the trip by staging exhibitions and running the entire length of Cuba. Arriving in New Orleans, he lost all his money in a crap game, which forced him to hitch-hike to St. Louis. He showed up on race day wearing heavy street shoes, long trousers, a beret and a long-sleeved shirt. Martin Sheridan helped him out by trimming the pants and the shirt. During the race, Carvajal would stop to eat some green apples and which caused stomach cramps and didn’t help his cause any. Still he finished fourth, listed in a 1905 edition of the St. Louis Republic as “about 1/2-hour behind Hicks.”

The first two South African Olympians were, ironically, black men named Len Taunyane and Jan Mashiani who ran the marathon. Both Tswana Tribesmen, they were present at the South African exhibit of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. They had been dispatch runners during the recent Boer War and were noted to be “the fleetest in the service.” They finished the marathon in 9th and 12th place, respectively.

The race started at 3 PM and the runners ran five laps of the stadium before heading out into the country. Fred Lorz had the early lead, but dropped out at nine miles. At that point, the lead was held by Arthur Newton, veteran of the 1900 Olympic marathon, and Sammy Mellor. Shortly thereafter, Mellor slowed to a walk, and Tom Hicks moved up on the leaders. Through 14 miles, Mellor had regained the lead, with Newton second, Hicks thirds, and Albert Coray and William Garcia together in fourth. Garcia would eventually drop out, and suffered so badly from the heat, dust, and lack of water, that he spent several days in the hospital, his life in the balance, before recovering.

At this point, Hicks began to flag badly. His handlers helped him, administering strychnine sulfate in an egg white, giving him water, and sponging him down. The early sports medicine seemed to work as he had the lead at 19 miles. At 20 miles he was again ready to collapse when he was given the same potions along with sips of brandy. He was then passed by Fred Lorz, who was refreshed after having ridden in an automobile most of the race.

Lorz entered the stadium first and received the crowd’s plaudits, as they were oblivious to his scheme. Hicks came shortly after, almost dead on his feet. He had finished the race by slow jogging interspersed with periods of walking. Lorz was soon found out and was banned from amateur competition for life, only to see it rescinded in time for him to win the 1905 Boston Marathon.

120Tom HicksUSA3-28:53Gold
27Albert CoreyUSA3-34:52Silver
312Arthur NewtonUSA3-47:33Bronze
43Félix CarvajalCUB
526Dimitrios VeloulisGRE
622David KneelandUSA
717Henry BrawleyUSA
839Sidney HatchUSA
935Len TaunyaneRSA
106Khristos ZekhouritisGRE
1121Frank DevlinUSA
1236Jan MashianiRSA
1330John FurlaUSA
1428Andrew OikonomouGRE
AC9Frank PierceUSADNF
AC10Sammy MellorUSADNF
AC11Edward CarrUSADNF
AC13Mike SpringUSADNF
AC45John LordanUSADNF
AC23William GarciaUSADNF
AC19Bob FowlerUSADNF
AC33Thomas KennedyUSADNF
AC18Guy PorterUSADNF
AC1Bertie HarrisRSADNF
AC25Georgios VamkaitisGREDNF
AC32Kharilaos GiannakasGREDNF
AC34Georgios DrososGREDNF
AC37Georgios LouridasGREDNF
AC38Ioannis LoungitsasGREDNF
AC29Petros PipilisGREDNF
DNS27Dimitrios TsokasGRE
DNS4John KennedyUSA
DNS8Konstantinos LontosUSA
DNS5Louis CrancerUSA
DNS24William MeyerUSA
DNS2William HeritageUSA
DNS15John DalyGBR
DNS16Billy SherringCAN