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Olympic Games 1908 - London

Rome had been awarded the organization of the 1908 Summer Olympics, but, after the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius, had to decline and pass the honours to London.

The marathon at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London was set to measure about 25 miles (40 kilometers) and to start on The Long Walk, a magnificent avenue leading up to Windsor Castle in the grounds of Windsor Great Park. The Princess of Wales wanted her children to watch the start of the race, so the start of the race was moved to the east lawn of Windsor Castle, increasing its length to 26 miles (42 km). The race was to finish at the Great White City Stadium in Shepherd's Bush in London; however, Queen Alexandra insisted on having the best view of the finish; so, in the words of the official Olympic report, "385 yards were run on the cinder track to the finish, below the Royal Box". The length then became 42.195 kilometers (26 miles 385 yards or 26 7/32 miles).

Fifty-six racers started. The day was unusually hot by British standards and the race was started at 2:33 p.m. on July 24, 1908. The Italian Dorando Pietri began his race at a rather slow pace, but in the second half began a powerful surge moving him into second position by the 32 kilometer mark, four minutes behind South African Charles Hefferon. When he knew that Hefferon was in crisis, Pietri further increased his pace, overtaking him at the 39 kilometer mark. The effort took its toll and with only two kilometres to go, Pietri began to feel the effects of extreme fatigue and dehydration. When he entered the stadium, he took the wrong path and when umpires redirected him, he fell down for the first time. He got up with their help, in front of 75,000 trembling spectators. He fell four more times, and every time was helped up by the umpires. Not far from the finish, again two officials took him by the arms and brought him to the line. In the end, though totally exhausted, he managed to finish the race in first place. Of his total time of 2 hours 54 minutes 46 seconds, ten minutes were needed for that last 350 metres.

Second was American Johnny Hayes. The American team immediately lodged a complaint against the help Pietri received from the umpires. The complaint was accepted and Pietri was disqualified and removed from the final standings of the race. Pietri's feat touched all the spectators of the stadium. As a compensation for the missing medal, Queen Alexandra gave him a gilded silver cup: an award proposed by the writer Arthur Conan Doyle who, according to some sources, was the megaphone bearer who supported Pietri at the finish line.


Results

JohnnyHayesUnited States of America2:55:18.4
CharlesHefferonSouth Africa2:56:06.0
JosephForshawUnited States of America2:57:10.4
AltonWeltonUnited States of America2:59:44.4
WilliamWoodCanada3:01:44.0
FrederickSimpsonCanada3:04:28.2
HarryLawsonCanada3:06:47.2
JohanSvanbergSweden3:07:50.8
LewisTewanimaUnited States of America3:09:15.0
10°KaaleNieminenFinland3:09:50.8
11°JackCafferyCanada3:12:46.0
12°WilliamClarkeGreat Britain3:16:08.6
13°ErnestBarnesGreat Britain3:17:30.8
14°SydneyHatchUnited States of America3:17:52.4
15°FrederickLordGreat Britain3:19:08.8
16°WilliamGoldsboroCanada3:20:07.0
17°JamesBealeGreat Britain3:20:14.0
18°ArnoštNejedlıBohemia3:26:26.2
19°GeorgLindRussia3:26:38.8
20°WillemWakkerNetherlands3:28:49.0
21°GustafTörnrosSweden3:30:20.8
22°GeorgeGouldingCanada3:33:26.4
23°JuliusJørgensenDenmark3:47:44.0
24°ArthurBurnCanada3:50:17.0
25°EmmerichRathAustria3:50:30.4
26°RudyHansenDenmark3:53:15.0
27°GeorgeListerCanada4:22:45.0

Did not finish

DNFVictorAitkenAustralasia
DNFFredApplebyGreat Britain
DNFHenryBarrettGreat Britain
DNFUmbertoBlasiItaly
DNFWilhelmusBraamsNetherlands
DNFGeorgeBuffNetherlands
DNFFrançoisCelisBelgium
DNFEdwardCotterCanada
DNFAlexanderDuncanGreat Britain
DNFThomasJackGreat Britain
DNFGeorgiosKoulouberdasGreece
DNFAnastasiosKoutoulakisGreece
DNFSethLandqvistSweden
DNFJohanLindqvistSweden
DNFTomLongboatCanada
DNFJosephLynchAustralasia
DNFJamesMitchell-BakerSouth Africa
DNFTomMorrisseyUnited States of America
DNFFrederickNoseworthyCanada
DNFJackPriceGreat Britain
DNFFritzReiserGermany
DNFMichaelRyanUnited States of America
DNFJohnTaitCanada
DNFFrederickThompsonGreat Britain
DNFArieVosbergenNetherlands
DNFAlbertWyattGreat Britain

Did not start

DNSThureBergvallSweden
DNSAugustoCoccaItaly
DNSFelixKwietonAustria
DNSJames J.LeeUnited States of America
DNSFrederickLorzUnited States of America
DNSIvarLundbergSweden
DNSL.MerenyiHungary
DNSA. B.MoleSouth Africa
DNSHermannMüllerGermany
DNSPaulNettelbeckGermany
DNSJames W.O'MaraUnited States of America
DNSGeorgPetersonSweden
DNSC. E.StevensSouth Africa
DNSSamuelStevensonGreat Britain
DNSW. F.TheunissenNetherlands
DNSAlexanderThibeauUnited States of America
DNSVincentSouth Africa
DNSW.WoodUnited States of America

Disqualified

DISDorandoPietriItaly2:54:46


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