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Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon

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Title: Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 1896 Summer Olympics, Charilaos Vasilakos, Gyula Kellner, List of Olympic venues in cycling, Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics
Collection: Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics, Marathons at the Olympics, Men's Marathons
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon

Men's marathon
at the Games of the I Olympiad

Spyridon Louis entering the stadium at the end of the marathon
Venue Marathon to Athens
Dates April 10
Competitors 17 from 5 nations
Gold medal    Greece
Silver medal    Greece
Bronze medal    Hungary
Athletics at the
1896 Summer Olympics
Track events
100 m   men
400 m men
800 m men
1500 m men
110 m hurdles men
Road events
Marathon men
Field events
Long jump men
Triple jump men
High jump men
Pole vault men
Shot put men
Discus throw men

The men's marathon event was a special race invented as part of the Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics programme. Michel Bréal originated the idea of a race from the city of Marathon to Athens, taking inspiration from the legend of Pheidippides. The first such marathon race was a Greek national competition that served as a qualifier for the Olympic marathon; the qualifier was won by Kharilaos Vasilakos. The length of the marathon in 1896 was .

Twenty-five athletes traveled to Marathon for the race from there to Athens, though only seventeen actually began the race. Just as in the 1500 metre race, Albin Lermusiaux took the lead early. Edwin Flack and Arthur Blake maintained the second and third places until Blake dropped out at 23 kilometres. At 32 kilometres, Lermusiaux dropped out as well, leaving Flack in the lead. That lead was not secure, however, as Spyridon Louis was making full use of his endurance to gain slowly on Flack.

Exhausted from trying to maintain his pace, Flack dropped out of the race with about three kilometres left. Louis was left alone at the front, finishing the 40 kilometre race in slightly less than 3 hours. Vasilakos finished second, followed closely by Spyridon Belokas and Gyula Kellner. Kellner lodged a protest stating that Belokas had covered part of the course by carriage; the protest was upheld, and Belokas was disqualified.


Place Athlete Time
1  Spyridon Louis (GRE) 2:58:50
2  Kharilaos Vasilakos (GRE) 3:06:03
3  Gyula Kellner (HUN) 3:06:35
4  Ioannis Vrettos (GRE) Unknown
5  Eleitherios Papasimeon (GRE) Unknown
6  Dimitrios Deligiannis (GRE) Unknown
7  Evangelos Gerakeris (GRE) Unknown
8  Stamatios Masouris (GRE) Unknown
 Edwin Flack (AUS) DNF (37 km)
 Albin Lermusiaux (FRA) DNF (32 km)
 Ioannis Lavrentis (GRE) DNF (24 km)
)GRE( DNF (24 km)
 Arthur Blake (USA) DNF (23 km)
 Ilias Kafetzis (GRE) DNF (9 km)
 Sokratis Lagoudakis (GRE) DNF (? km)
 Dimitrios Khristopoulos (GRE) DNF
DISQ  Spyridon Belokas (GRE) 3:06:30
Burton Holmes' photograph entitled "1896: Three athletes in training for the marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens".

See also


  • Lampros, S.P.; Polites, N.G.; De Coubertin, Pierre; Philemon, P.J.; & Anninos, C. (1897). The Olympic Games: BC 776 – AD 1896. Athens: Charles Beck.  (Digitally available at
  • Seidman, Robert (January 7, 2010). "TV Ratings: Ugly Betty Wednesday Debut Weak; People's Choice Leads CBS; Middle, SVU Season Highs". The Nielsen Company (TV by the Numbers). Retrieved March 12, 2010.  (Excerpt available at
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