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1912 Olympic Games Stockholm, Sweden - Men's Marathon



Host City: Stockholm, Sweden Format: 40,200 metres (24.98 miles) out-and-back
Date Started: July 14, 1912  
Date Finished: July 14, 1912  
(Competitors: 68; Countries: 19)  
    Venue(s): Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Stockholm
Overview by IAAF   1912_olympic_stadium2.jpg 
The race was held on a swelteringly hot day, and started at 13:45. The early leaders were Tatu Kolehmainen (FIN) and Alex Ahlgren (SWE). By 15Km the Swede had fallen back, and Kolehmainen was followed by McArthur and his fellow South African Gitsham. At halfway Gitsham had made a break and led by 10 seconds from the Finn in 1:12:40, with McArthur third in 1:13:15. Despite a series of feeding stations set up for athletes to take on fluids, the heat began to affect the athletes, and Kolehmainen dropped out after trying to catch Gitsham. Behind the South Africans, the packwas led by Jacobsson and Strobino, the latter having carved his way through the field despite suffering from bleeding feet. With 5Km to go, Gitsham stopped for a drink and McArthur got clear. The 30 year-old policeman, a giant in marathoning at 1.83/79kg, won by just under a minute, with half of the runners failing to finish.
Summary by      
The marathon at Stockholm was the first time the Olympic marathon was conducted as an out-and-back race. The runners started at the Olympic stadium, ran north to the small town of Sollentuna, where they turned just beyond the main village church and returned to the Olympic stadium. Unfortunately the day of the race dawned very hot for Stockholm, a common occurrence in Olympic marathon racing. Gynn and Martin have noted “Unconfirmed reports have suggested a temperature of 32° C. (89.6° F.) in the shade.”
Most of the world’s top long-distance runners were present. The Americans entered 12 runners, the maximum, including the Boston Marathon champions of 1911 (Clarence DeMar) and 1912 (Mike Ryan), two Indian runners (Lewis Tewanima, a Hopi; and Andrew Sockalexis, a Penobscot), and Joe Forshaw, who had run the Olympic marathon in 1906 and 1908, winning the bronze medal at London. The British entered eight runners, including Harry Barrett, who won the 1909 Polytechnic race, and the 3rd-8th place finishers at the 1912 Polytechnic race.
The top two finishers from the 1912 Polytechnic Marathon were not British but both were present at Stockholm. Canada’s James Corkery had won the race, followed by South Africa’s Chris Gitsham. South Africa also entered Kenneth McArthur, who was little known outside of his native country. But between 1909 and 1911 he had won three marathon distance races in South Africa, and had never been defeated at marathon distances.
The race was led through the early stages by Tatu Kolehmainen, Hannes’s brother. At the turn-around at Sollentuna, Chris Gitsham was the leader in 1-12:40, followed by Kolehmainen and McArthur, with a group of five (Fred Lord GBR, Carlo Speroni ITA, Alexis Ahlgren SWE, Sigfrid Jacobsson SWE, and Corkery) within a minute of the leader.
By 25 km. Kolehmainen had caught Gitsham and the two ran together for several miles. But Kolehmainen dropped out by 35 km. and McArthur caught his teammate at that point (reached in 2-14:20) and they led by over one minute from Jacobsson and America’s virtual unknown, Gaston Strobino.
At the base of a hill, a few km outside the stadium, Gitsham stopped to drink, and McArthur pulled away to take the lead for good. He entered the stadium comfortably ahead, and the two South Africans finished one-two. Strobino finished third. Almost a phantom among American track & field medalists, he had qualified for the Olympic team when he had finished 2nd in a half-marathon in New York earlier in 1912. After the Olympics, Strobino retired and never raced again.
The 1912 Olympic marathon also saw the Games’ first tragedy. Portuguese marathoner Francisco Lázaro from the effects of the race and the hot weather. Taken to Seraphim Hospital, he was never revived and he died on the morning after the race at 0620, the first fatality during an Olympic event.
Kennedy McArthur may be the least known Olympic marathon gold medalist. South African historians know little of his life. But Roger Gynn and Dave Martin, in their book on Olympic marathons, note that he is known to have run six marathons in his running career, and never lost.


The distance was nearly two kilometres shorter nevertheless, Ken McArthur's winning time is registered as an Olympic record.
Marathon Men     Final 14 July        
1912 Athletics men's marathon - Kenneth McArthur2.JPG
Kenneth McArthur winning the Marathon at the 1912 Summer Olympics.
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 2-36.54.8     Ken McArthur South Africa RSA 30    
2 2-37.52.0     Chris Gitsham South Africa RSA 23    
3 2-38.42.4     Gaston Strobino United States USA 20    
4 2-42.07.9     Andrew Sockalexis United States USA 21    
5 2-42.18.8     Jimmy Duffy Canada CAN 22    
6 2-43.24.9     Sigfrid Jacobsson Sweden SWE 28    
7 2-44.19.4     John Gallagher United States USA 22    
8 2-45.47.2     Joseph Erxleben United States USA 22    
9 2-46.40.7     Richard Piggott United States USA 23    
10 2-49.49.4     Joe Forshaw United States USA 30    
11 2-50.36.2     Ed Fabre Canada CAN 23    
12 2-50.46.6     Clarence DeMar United States USA 23    
13 2-51.06.6     Renon Boissière France FRA 29    
14 2-52.11.4     Harry Green Great Britain GBR 25    
15 2-52.23.0     William Forsyth Canada CAN 21    
16 2-52.41.4     Lewis Tewanima United States USA      
17 2-52.53.8     Harry Smith United States USA 23    
18 2-59.35.4     Thomas Lilley United States USA 24    
19 3-00.05.0     Arthur Townsend Great Britain GBR 29    
20 3-00.48.0     Felix Kwieton Austria AUT 34    
21 3-01.39.2     Fred Lord Great Britain GBR 33    
22 3-02.05.2     Jacob Westberg Sweden SWE 26    
23 3-04.59.4     Axel Simonsen Norway NOR 25    
24 3-06.13.0     Carl Andersson Sweden SWE 35    
25 3-09.25.0     Edgar Lloyd Great Britain GBR 25    
26 3-11.37.0     Iraklis Sakellaropoulos Greece GRE 24    
27 3-13.32.2     Hjalmar Dahlberg Sweden SWE 25    
28 3-16.35.2     Ivar Lundberg Sweden SWE 33    
29 3-21.57.4     Johannes Christensen Denmark DEN 23    
30 3-21.57.6     Olaf Lodal Denmark DEN 26    
31 3-25.21.6     Ödön Kárpáti Hungary HUN 20    
32 3-26.56.4     Carl Nilsson Sweden SWE 23    
33 3-27.03.8     Emmerich Rath Austria AUT 28    
34 3-36.35.2     Otto Osen Norway NOR 29    
AC DNF     Stuart Poulter Australasia ANZ 23    
AC DNF     Karl Hack Austria AUT 19    
AC DNF     Boris Honzátko Bohemia BOH 36    
AC DNF     Vladimír Penc Bohemia BOH 18    
AC DNF     František Slavík Bohemia BOH 23    
AC DNF     James Corkery Canada CAN 22    
AC DNF     Aarne Kallberg Finland FIN 20    
AC DNF     Tatu Kolehmainen Finland FIN 27    
AC DNF     Louis Pauteix France FRA 29    
AC DNF     Harry Barrett Great Britain GBR 32    
AC DNF     James Beale Great Britain GBR 31    
AC DNF     Septimus Francom Great Britain GBR 29    
AC DNF     Tim Kellaway Great Britain GBR 20    
AC DNF     Henrik Ripszám, Jr. Hungary HUN 23    
AC DNF     Francesco Ruggero Italy ITA 19    
AC DNF     Carlo Speroni Italy ITA 16    
AC DNF     Shizo Kanakuri Japan JPN 20    
AC DNF     Oscar Fonbæk Norway NOR 24    
AC DNF     Francisco Lázaro Portugal POR 21    
AC DNF     Arthur St. Norman South Africa RSA 33    
AC DNF     Andrejs Kapmals Russia RUS 22    
AC DNF     Andrejs Krūkliņš Russia RUS 21    
AC DNF     Nikolajs Rasso Russia RUS 21    
AC DNF     Elmar Reimann Russia RUS 19    
AC DNF     Aleksandrs Upmals Russia RUS 19    
AC DNF     Dragutin Tomašević Serbia SRB 21    
AC DNF     Alexis Ahlgren Sweden SWE 24    
AC DNF     Thure Bergvall Sweden SWE 24    
AC DNF     William Grüner Sweden SWE 23    
AC DNF     David Guttman Sweden SWE 28    
AC DNF     Ivan Lönnberg Sweden SWE 20    
AC DNF     Gustaf Törnros Sweden SWE 25    
AC DNF     John Reynolds United States USA 22    
AC DNF     Mike Ryan United States USA 23    
The start The runners leaving the stadium. Christian Gitsham finishing in second place.
Ken McArthur at the entrance of the stadium. Gaston Strobino finishing in third place.
More Details by Marathoninfo
1912 Stockholm: First drama of Jo
Sunday, July 14 at 1:48 p.m. Kenneth Mc Arthur (South Africa) 30 years 68 including 19 countries 34 (50%)
The race was run under very hot weather, the course presented no particular topographic difficulty.

Until now, and despite the many twists and dramas that have already taken place at previous Olympic marathons, never had there been deaths. This time the marathon had its first death case the Portuguese Francisco Lazaro. Guilty, the terrible and unexpected heat that hit Sweden during the marathon ran full afternoon. Yet the Swedish who are farsighted people wanted to avoid désatre previous games with the arrival of Dorando Pietri including London. So they had required medical certificates competitors, aid stations were provided with medical teams on standby and alert in ambulances. Borrowed roads had been swept and watered to prevent dust, followers are no longer allowed, and all traffic was banned one hour before and one hour after the riders. Only the tropical heat, we must say unusual Stockholm, had not been considered. 18th to 25th km, the Portuguese did not seem overly upset, but the thirtieth kilometer he began to stagger before collapsing, he was immediately transported to the hospital but nothing helped.

I died the early hours of Monday morning, no doubt suffered a partial asphyxiation because of the fat he had had the unfortunate idea to go to the body to protect from the sun and which prevented his skin breathe. Yet Portugal had three championship titles to his credit. Pierre de Coubertin went to the bedside of the dying and a big mobilization was then league to collect a considerable sum for the benefit of his widow.

The race This event shows the difficulty of the race because of the heat that many athletes were the victims, since nearly half of the athletes were forced to retire, but there were two boys who fired formidably their game the south Africans Kenneth Mc Arthur and Christopher Gitsham. The latter two were probably more used to these temperatures that favored the probably especially against the Finnish athletes who were part of the most serious candidates for victory at that time. One of them, Tatu Kolehmainen (whose brother Hannes won three gold medals in cross, 10000m and 5000m), took the race in hand pretty quickly. His other brother Willie had a professional career in the United States and had returned with a rich knowledge brand new training material he shared with his brother. Kolehmainen became join shortly before the midterm located in Sollentuna where Gitsham took the lead with 15 "ahead of Kolehmainen and 35" Mc Arthur, Lord was fourth at 50 "and Italian Speroni 5th at 1'15" who received this place a bucket of water over his head as most of his followers .. on the strength back Gitsham pace to crack Kolehmainen and McArthur. Despite the heat, the two South Africans seemed more at ease and it was bound to happen, the Finn is let go, taking her even such a blow to morale that does not finish the race. The fight for victory seems to have to pass between the two compatriots.

McArthur carried in triumph.

In third place was Strobino Gaston, a young American engineer of 21 who had promised his mother before leaving the US to finish the race at all costs. He had made ​​towards the end of the race an incredible comeback after a cautious start. American athletes were well prepared by Michael Murphy and former winner of London John Hayes, arrived in Sweden they had resumed training who managed four years earlier and who was to travel several times the full marathon distance.

The glass of water too It is three kilometers from the finish that will decide the victory of Mc Arthur, not on acceleration but on a racing. Gitcham and McArthur going together for a long time when Gitsham, convinced that his teammate was going to wait, stops to drink a glass of water. Instead of waiting, Mc Arthur file at full speed. Glancing furtively glances over his shoulder, it was really quiet once the finish line. While he was at the entrance to the home straight, Gitsham, apparently in better condition than he had penetrated to turn the stadium.

Just arrived, Gitsham complained bitterly of betrayal, "he said he would wait for me while I drink it, but he did not," replied what McArthur: "I was come to win or die, the water does not interest me. " In third place came next Strobino whose feet were bleeding but had kept the promise made ​​to his mother. It was for him the first but also the only marathon of his career.

World record of the slowest marathon !! The story most crazy (he had a good !!) came from Japanese Kanaguri (it was also the first Japanese participation in the Olympics). Towards the thirtieth kilometer, he noticed a spectator drinking on his doorstep. Compassionate viewers invited him home to take some rest. Kanaguri lay down on the sofa to finally do wake up in the next day. They had not missed in his absence to worry about his disappearance, an ad to find him was launched at the microphone on the stage. When a wanted notice appeared in the local newspaper, he had already left discreetly in Japan. He returned to Stockholm in 1967, when it became an important leader of athletics in the country. Maliciously, his Swedish hosts proposed to resume the race where he left off, which he did without being asked, becoming somehow classified 35th after crossing the finish line in 54 years, 8 months, 32 '20 "and 3/10. What could be better?

McArthur was born in Northern Ireland in 1882, policeman by trade, he had won the five marathons in which he participated in his adopted country. To commemorate the race, the Swedish Olympic Committee erected a monument to Sollentuna, to the place where competitors had turned around. A Swedish carrier offered a block of granite, and architect Torben Grut in for free was a Doric column, about 7m high, with a rectangular stone. On this stone was engraved with a cross, above, this simple dates "1912" and the word marathon inscribed front and back, and on the north face "round" written in Swedish.

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