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Athletics at the 1900 Paris Summer Games:

Men's Marathon

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Paris, France
Venue(s): Catalan Cross, Boulogne Forest, Paris
Date Started: July 19, 1900
Date Finished: July 19, 1900
Format: 40,260 metres (25.01 miles) out-and-back.

Gold: LUX Michel Théato
Silver: FRA Émile Champion
Bronze: SWE Ernst Fast

Summary

The day dawned unbearably hot, with temperatures eventually reaching 39° C (102° F). Still, the event was held, and incredibly, was started at the hottest part of the day, 2:30 PM. The runners made four circuits of the 500 metre track before making out for the streets of Paris, although Johan Nyström withdrew before one lap of the stadium.

George Touquet-Daunis led the runners out of the Bois de Boulogne. Race descriptions are scanty, but he led through at least half the race, followed by Ernst Fast. When Touquet-Daunis dropped out, Fast took the lead. However, he was basically spent by that point, and Michel Théato passed him to win by a few minutes over Émile Champion, with Fast finishing almost 40 minutes back.

Théato was a baker’s assistant and knew the streets of Paris well from his deliveries. Arthur Newton later claimed that Théato and Champion must have used their knowledge of the streets to cheat as he never saw them pass him. However, this does not explain Fast’s finish, nor does it agree with race reports which have Touquet-Daunis and Fast leading the early part of the race. In the early 1990s, French athletics historian Alain Bouillé discovered that Théato was actually a Luxembourgeois national.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Michel Théato 22 Luxembourg LUX Gold 2-59:45.0
2 Émile Champion 20 France FRA Silver 3-04:17.0
3 Ernst Fast 19 Sweden SWE Bronze 3-37:14.0
4 Eugène Besse France FRA 4-00:43.0
5 Arthur Newton 17 United States USA 4-04:12.0
6 Dick Grant 21 Canada CAN
7 Ronald MacDonald 26 Canada CAN
AC Georges Touquet-Daunis France FRA DNF
AC Auguste Marchais 27 France FRA DNF
AC William Saward Great Britain GBR DNF
AC Ion Pool 42 Great Britain GBR DNF
AC Frederick Randall 36 Great Britain GBR DNF
AC Johan Nyström 26 Sweden SWE DNF
AC W. Taylor Great Britain GBR DNF