| Event type

Marathon, Men

Date10 September 1960 — 17:30
LocationArco di Constantino, Roma
Participants69 from 35 countries
Format42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) point-to-point.

The 1960 Olympic marathon is probably the most unusual marathon in Olympic history. It was the first, and until 2016, the only Olympic marathon that neither started, nor finished at the Olympic stadium. The race started in the late afternoon and finished in the dark, the course lit by torches to illuminate the route. And it was won by a man running barefooted.

The race started at 5:30 PM at the Piazza di Campidoglio, one of Roma’s seven hills. The course was a triangular loop, running along many of the wonders of Ancient Roma. The course passed along the Caracalla Baths, ran down the Appian Way, and finished under the Arch of Constantine, in the dark.

The favorite was probably the Soviet runner, Sergey Popov, who on 11 October 1959, at the Košice Marathon in Czechoslovakia, had become the second runner under 2-20, breaking the world record with 2-17:45.2. The early lead was taken by the Belgian Aurèle Vandendriessche, who had won five Belgian titles since 1956. He was joined by a small group that included Britain’s Arthur Keily, and two African runners, Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila and the Moroccan, Rhadi Ben Abdesselam. Bikila was unusual as he was running the race barefoot. By 20 km. Bikila and Rhadi had taken the lead, and they would run together until near the stadium. At about 500 metres from the finish, at the Piazza di Porta Capena, running down the torchlit way, Bikila finally broke Rhadi and pulled away to win the race by 25 seconds. It was ironic that Bikila made his move as he passed the Obelisco di Azum, which had been brought to the square from Ethiopia after the Italian invasion of that nation by Mussolini. The bronze medal was won by New Zealand’s Barry Magee, with two Soviet runners following – Konstantin Vorobyov in 4th and Popov in 5th.

Bikila would return to run the Olympic marathon again in 1964, winning in world record time. By then he would be acclaimed as the greatest marathoner ever, and many experts still give him that title. In his career, he ran 15 marathons between 1959-68, winning 12 of the first 13, but not finishing his last two, which included his final race at the 1968 Olympics. He would later be severely injured in a car crash, and rendered quadriparetic, dying in the early 1970s.

1Abebe BikilaETH2-15:16.2GoldWB
2Rhadi Ben AbdesselamMAR2-15:41.6Silver
3Barry MageeNZL2-17:18.2Bronze1
4Konstantin VorobyovURS2-19:09.6
5Sergey PopovURS2-19:18.8
6Thyge ThøgersenDEN2-21:03.4
7Abebe WakgiraETH2-21:09.4
8Bakir Ben AissaMAR2-21:21.4
9Osvaldo SuárezARG2-21:26.6
10Luka ŠkrinjarYUG2-21:40.2
11Nikolay RumyantsevURS2-21:49.4
12Franjo MihalićYUG2-21:52.6
13Keith JamesRSA2-22:58.6
14Pavel KantorekTCH2-22:59.8
15Gumersindo GómezARG2-23:00.0
16Sonny O'GormanGBR2-24:16.2
17Miguel NavarroESP2-24:17.4
18Jeff JulianNZL2-24:50.6
19Johnny KelleyUSA2-24:58.0
20Lee Chang-HunKOR2-25:02.2
21Arnold VaideSWE2-25:40.2
22Gerry McIntyreIRL2-26:03.0
23Olavi ManninenFIN2-26:33.0
24Eino OksanenFIN2-26:38.0
25Arthur KeilyGBR2-27:00.0
26Tor TorgersenNOR2-27:30.0
27Myitung NawMYA2-28:17.0
28Bruno BartholomeGER2-28:39.0
29Brian KilbyGBR2-28:55.0
30Alex BreckenridgeUSA2-29:38.0
31Kurao HiroshimaJPN2-29:40.0
32Kazumi WatanabeJPN2-29:45.0
33Juan SilvaCHI2-31:18.0
34Alain MimounFRA2-31:20.0
35Paul GenèveFRA2-31:20.0
36Frans KünenNED2-31:25.0
37Francesco PerroneITA2-31:32.0
38Silvio De FlorentiisITA2-31:54.0
39Linus DiazSRI2-32:12.0
40Lal ChandIND2-32:13.0
41Johannes LauridsenDEN2-32:32.0
42Willie DunneIRL2-33:08.0
43Ian SinfieldAUS2-34:16.0
44Arthur WittwerSUI2-34:42.2
45Jagmal SinghIND2-35:01.0
46Nobuyoshi SadanagaJPN2-35:11.0
47Lee Sang-CheolKOR2-35:14.0
48Gordon McKenzieUSA2-35:16.0
49Ahmed LabidiTUN2-35:43.0
50Walter LemosARG2-36:55.0
51Ray PuckettNZL2-37:36.0
52Dolfi GruberAUT2-37:40.0
53Antti ViskariFIN2-38:06.0
54Al LawrenceAUS2-38:46.0
55Gord DicksonCAN2-38:46.0
56Lothar BeckertGER2-40:10.0
57Günter HavensteinGER2-41:14.0
58Evert NybergSWE2-42:59.0
59Kanuti SumKEN2-46:55.2
60Ranjit BhatiaIND2-57:06.0
61Allal SaoudiMAR2-59:41.0
62Alifu MassaquoiLBR3-43:18.0
DNFHedi DhaouiTUN
DNFVito Di TerlizziITA
DNFMouldi EssalhiTUN
DNFGerhart HeckerHUN
DNFKim Yeon-BeomKOR
DNFBertie MessittIRL
DNFAurèle VandendriesscheBEL
DNSErik ÖstbyeSWE
DNSTadeusz Starzyński-StarybratPOL
DNSDave PowerAUS
DNSConstantin GrecescuROU
DNSCyprian TseriwaZIM