| Event type

Marathon, Men

Date22 August 1920 — 16:12
LocationOlympisch Stadion, Antwerpen
Participants48 from 17 countries
Format42,750 metres (26.56 miles) out-and-back .
Olympic Record 2-36:54.8 / Ken McArthur RSA / 14 July 1912

The marathon course was the longest in Olympic history at 42.75 km. The course began and ended in Beerschot Stadium, with the runners doing 1½ laps of the track at the beginning and end of the race. Fortunately the weather was cool and damp. South Africa’s Chris Gitsham and Belgium’s Auguste Broos were the early leaders, taking the lead by three kilometres. Gitsham had been training on the course for several weeks. At 20 km. the lead pack consisted of Gitsham, Broos, Hannes Kolehmainen, and Italy’s Ettore Blasi, with Estonia’s Jüri Lossmann and the Finn, Juho Tuomikoski, close behind. Kolehmainen, winner of the 5 and 10K at Stockholm in 1912, took the lead at the midpoint of the race, and overall, he and Gitsham ran together for almost 15 kilometres. Gitsham, however, was having problems with a leg injury and withdrew at around 37 kilometres. Kolehmainen by then was pulling away for what appeared would be an easy victory, in what was the fastest time ever run for the marathon, even with the extra-long course. However, Lossmann closed superbly and finished only about 13 seconds behind the Finn. Lossmann later declared that had any of his Estonian teammates supported him, instead of going on an all day excursion, he would have won the race. The third-place finisher, Valerio Arri of Italy, was so delighted with his bronze medal, that he performed three cartwheel somersaults as he crossed the finish line.

One of the Australian competitors, Wilfred Kent-Hughes wrote the following of Kolehmainen’s victory, “The winner could not rest his tired muscles. They wrapped him in the flag of his country, placed a laurel wreath on his head, and forced him to make one more round of the track. Kolehmainen ran round tiredly, in his fantastic ‘costume’ and reminded one of a Greek god who, dressed in a Roman toga, had just flown down from Olympus. The crowd wildly cheered him, and the fanatic sports lovers passed him from hand to hand. It’s surprising he ever managed to survive the great ‘honour.’”

Diplomas of merit were awarded to all runners who finished the race within 25% of the winning time, or anyone under 3-10:44.8, which worked out to be the top 30 runners.

1263Hannes KolehmainenFIN2-32:35.8GoldWB
2680Jüri LossmanEST2-32:48.6Silver
3464Valerio ArriITA2-36:32.8Bronze
410Auguste BroosBEL2-39:25.8
5289Juho TuomikoskiFIN2-40:18.8
6106Sofus RoseDEN2-41:18.0
7192Joseph OrganUSA2-41:30.0
894Rudolf HansenDEN2-41:39.4
9259Urho TallgrenFIN2-42:40.0
10264Tatu KolehmainenFIN2-44:03.2
11191Carl LinderUSA2-44:21.2
12204Chuck MellorUSA2-45:30.0
1372James DellowCAN2-46:47.0
14409Bobby MillsGBR2-48:05.0
1582Art ScholesCAN2-48:30.0
16513Shizo KanakuriJPN2-48:45.4
17595Gustav KinnSWE2-49:10.4
18351Albert MochéFRA2-50:00.2
19508Phadeppa ChauguleIND2-50:45.4
20516Zensaku MotegiJPN2-51:09.4
21522Kenzo YashimaJPN2-57:02.0
2278Norman GeneralCAN2-58:01.0
23628Rudolf WåhlinSWE2-59:23.0
24515Yahei MiuraJPN2-59:37.0
25371Henri TeyssedouFRA3-00:04.0
26458Hendricus WesselNED3-00:17.0
2737Charles MelisBEL3-00:51.0
28581William GrünerSWE3-01:48.0
29416George PiperGBR3-02:10.0
302Sinton HewittAUS3-03:27.0
31402Leslie HousdenGBR3-14:07.0
32438Iraklis SakellaropoulosGRE3-14:25.0
3386Juan BascuñánCHI3-17:47.0
347Oscar BlansaerBEL3-20:00.0
3581Eric RobertsonGBR3-55:00.0
AC554Chris GitshamRSADNF
AC467Ettore BlasiITADNF
AC337Louis IchardFRADNF
AC492Antonio PersicoITADNF
AC95Axel JensenDENDNF
AC226Arthur RothUSADNF
AC439Peter TrivoulidisGREDNF
AC445Christiaan HuijgensNEDDNF
AC63Desiré Van RemortelBELDNF
AC621Hans SchusterSWEDNF
AC372Amédée TrichardFRADNF
AC509Sadashir DatarINDDNF
DNS65M. VrielynckBEL
DNS249Jack WeberUSA
DNS321Ahmed DjebellaFRA
DNS493Pericle PaglianiITA
DNS560Len RichardsonRSA
DNS256Frank ZunaUSA