| Event type

5 miles, Men

Date15 – 18 July 1908
LocationWhite City Stadium, London
Participants35 from 14 countries

Only twice has a 5-mile race been contested at the Olympics, in 1906 and 1908. The world record for this distance was 24:33.4, set by Britain’s Alfred Shrubb in London on 12 May 1904. Shrubb was the greatest long distance runner in the world but had since turned professional and could not compete at the 1908 Olympics. The Olympic record had been set in 1906 at Athens by another British runner, Henry Hawtrey, who had recorded 26:11.8 on the tight Athens track. With Shrubb not eligible no real favorite existed. America had no top distance runners, and Britain had failed to produce a dominant distance man to replace Shrubb.

Eddie Owen (GBR), Charles Hefferon (RSA), who was later to finish second in the marathon, and John Svanberg (SWE) shared the early lead but 700 yards from home, Emil Voigt made his move and left the pack to win by 70 yards, although his winning time was almost 40 seconds outside Shrubb’s world record. The splits and leaders were as follows: 1 mile - 4:26.2 [Owen]; 2 miles - 9:54.2 [Hefferon]; 3 miles - 15:05,6 [Hefferon]; 4 miles - 20:19.2 [Svanberg].

Four athletes who had competed in the final of the 3-mile Team Race also started in the heats of the 5 miles which began less than three hours after the team race final. Joe Deakin and William Coales (both GBR) and Herb Trube (USA) failed to finish in the heats but Arthur Robertson (GBR), who had individually finished 2nd in the team race final, won his heat in the 5 miles and then finished 5th in the final three days later.

Emil Voigt had won the AAA title at 4 miles only ten days before the Olympics. He repeated as AAA champion in 1909 and then won the one mile race in 1910 before retiring from competition. He claimed his athletic success was due to his vegetarianism.

1Emil VoigtGBR26:13.4 (1 h2)25:11.2 (1)Gold
2Eddie OwenGBR26:12.0 (1 h6)25:24.0 (2)Silver
3John SvanbergSWE25:46.2 (1 h1)25:37.2 (3)Bronze
4Charles HefferonRSA26:05.0 (2 h1)25:44.0 (4)
5Arthur RobertsonGBR25:50.2 (1 h5)26:13.0 (5)
6Fred MeadowsCAN26:16.2 (2 h4)26:16.2 (6)
7Jimmy FitzgeraldCAN26:05.8 (2 h5)– (7)
8Fred BellarsUSA26:49.0 (2 h2)– (8)
9Seth LandqvistSWE27:00.2 (1 h3)– (9)
AC r2/2James MurphyGBR25:59.2 (1 h4)– (AC)
2 h2 r1/2Edward CarrUSA27:24.4 (2 h3)
2 h6 r1/2William GalbraithCAN27:23.3 (2 h6)
3 h1 r1/2George BlakeANZat 1 lap (3 h1)
3 h2 r1/2Pericle PaglianiITA26:56.4 (3 h2)
3 h3 r1/2Julius JørgensenDEN28:08.8 (3 h3)
3 h4 r1/2Georg PetersonSWE26:50.4 (3 h4)
3 h5 r1/2Sam StevensonGBR26:17.0 / at 70 yards (3 h5)
3 h6 r1/2Arnošt NejedlýBOH28:29.8 (3 h6)
4 h2 r1/2Kjeld NielsenDEN27:04.8 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/2Charles HallUSA28:24.0 (4 h3)
4 h4 r1/2Paul LizandierFRA27:10.8 (4 h4)
5 h3 r1/2Paul NettelbeckGER28:31.6 (5 h3)
AC h1 r1/2Gaston RagueneauFRA– (AC h1)
AC h1 r1/2William CoalesGBR– (AC h1)
AC h2 r1/2Nikolaos KouloumberdasGRE– (AC h2)
AC h2 r1/2Willem WakkerNED– (AC h2)
AC h2 r1/2Edward DahlSWE– (AC h2)
AC h3 r1/2Wilhelmus BraamsNED– (AC h3)
AC h4 r1/2Jack TaitCAN– (AC h4)
AC h4 r1/2Joe DeakinGBR– (AC h4)
AC h4 r1/2Jacques KeyserNED– (AC h4)
AC h5 r1/2Joseph LynchANZ– (AC h5)
AC h5 r1/2Axel WiegandtSWE– (AC h5)
AC h5 r1/2Herb TrubeUSA– (AC h5)
AC h6 r1/2Antal LovasHUN– (AC h6)
DNSRené ThomasFRA
DNSHobart YoungUSA
DNSImre VeresHUN
DNSGuy HaskinsANZ
DNSKálmán BecskeHUN
DNSRalph CarrUSA
DNSFloyd RoweUSA
DNSWillem TheunissenNED
DNSVictor MillerotFRA
DNSJohn ArmourUSA
DNSVictor AitkenANZ
DNSFelix KwietonAUT
DNSArthur BurnCAN
DNSEddie CotterCAN
DNSTom LongboatCAN
DNSFred SimpsonCAN
DNSWilliam WoodCAN
DNSRudolf HansenDEN
DNSJean BouinFRA
DNSLouis Bonniot de FleuracFRA
DNSJoseph DréherFRA
DNSAlexandre FayollatFRA
DNSTom DowningGBR
DNSAlex DuncanGBR
DNSHarold WilsonGBR
DNSAnastasios KoutoulakisGRE
DNSEmilio GiovanoliITA
DNSDorando PietriITA
DNSHenk van der WalNED
DNSJohan LindqvistSWE
DNSGeorge BonhagUSA
DNSHarvey CohnUSA
DNSGayle DullUSA
DNSJohn EiseleUSA
DNSFrancis EdwardsGBR

Round One (15 July 1908 — 14:30)

Winner and runner-up in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

1John SvanbergSWE25:46.2Q
2Charles HefferonRSA26:05.0Q
3George BlakeANZat 1 lap
ACWilliam CoalesGBRDNF
ACGaston RagueneauFRADNF

Heat Two

1Emil VoigtGBR26:13.4Q
2Fred BellarsUSA26:49.0Q
3Pericle PaglianiITA26:56.4
4Kjeld NielsenDEN27:04.8
ACWillem WakkerNEDDNF
ACNikolaos KouloumberdasGREDNF

Heat Three

1Seth LandqvistSWE27:00.2Q
2Edward CarrUSA27:24.4Q
3Julius JørgensenDEN28:08.8
4Charles HallUSA28:24.0
5Paul NettelbeckGER28:31.6
ACWilhelmus BraamsNEDDNF

Heat Four

1James MurphyGBR25:59.2Q
2Fred MeadowsCAN26:16.2Q
3Georg PetersonSWE26:50.4
4Paul LizandierFRA27:10.8
ACJacques KeyserNEDDNF

Heat Five

1Arthur RobertsonGBR25:50.2Q
2Jimmy FitzgeraldCAN26:05.8Q
3Sam StevensonGBR26:17.0 / at 70 yards
ACAxel WiegandtSWEDNF
ACJoseph LynchANZDNF

Heat Six

1Eddie OwenGBR26:12.0Q
2William GalbraithCAN27:23.3Q
3Arnošt NejedlýBOH28:29.8

Final (18 July 1908 — 17:30)

1Emil VoigtGBR25:11.2
2Eddie OwenGBR25:24.0
3John SvanbergSWE25:37.2
4Charles HefferonRSA25:44.0
5Arthur RobertsonGBR26:13.0
6Fred MeadowsCAN26:16.2
7Jimmy FitzgeraldCAN
8Fred BellarsUSA
9Seth LandqvistSWE
ACJames MurphyGBRDNF