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Athletics at the 1904 St. Louis Summer Games:

Men's Marathon

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Host City: St. Louis, United States
Venue(s): Francis Field, Washington University, St. Louis
Date Started: August 30, 1904
Date Finished: August 30, 1904
Format: 40,000 metres (24.85 miles) point-to-point.

Gold: USA Tom Hicks
Silver: FRA Albert Corey
Bronze: USA Arthur Newton

Summary

The race was 40 km. and was held on a 90° F. (32° C.) day. In addition it was run over dusty country roads, and the lead automobiles kicked up so much dust that the runners practically choked on it throughout the race. There was also only one water stop on the course, that being a well at 12 miles.

Among the Americans there were several top distance runners. Sammy Mellor, winner of the 1902 Boston Marathon; John Lordon, winner of Boston in 1903, Mike Spring, winner of Boston in 1904, and Arthur Newton, who had finished fifth at Paris in the 1900 Olympic marathon. The top foreign distance runners were not present, but a 5-foot tall Cuban named Félix Carvajal had come to St. Louis.

Carvajal had raised money for the trip by staging exhibitions and running the entire length of Cuba. Arriving in New Orleans, he lost all his money in a crap game, which forced him to hitch-hike to St. Louis. He showed up on race day wearing heavy street shoes, long trousers, a beret and a long-sleeved shirt. Martin Sheridan helped him out by trimming the pants and the shirt. During the race, Carvajal would stop to eat some green apples and which caused stomach cramps and didn't help his cause any. Still he finished fourth.

The first two South African Olympians were ironically, black men named Len Taw and Jan Mashiani, who ran the marathon. Both Kaffir Tribesmen, they were present at the South African exhibit of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. They had been dispatch runners during the recent Boer War and were noted to be "the fleetest in the service." They finished the marathon in 9th and 12th place, respectively.

The race started at 3 PM and the runners ran five laps of the stadium before heading out into the country. Fred Lorz had the early lead, but dropped out at nine miles. At that point, the lead was held by Arthur Newton, veteran of the 1900 Olympic marathon, and Sammy Mellor. Shortly thereafter, Mellor slowed to a walk, and Tom Hicks moved up on the leaders. Through 14 miles, Mellor had regained the lead, with Newton second, Hicks thirds, and Albert Coray and William Garcia together in fourth. Garcia would eventually drop out, and suffered so badly from the heat, dust, and lack of water, that he spent several days in the hospital, his life in the balance, before recovering.

At this point, Hicks began to flag badly. His handlers helped him, administering strychnine sulfate in an egg white, giving him water, and sponging him down. The early sports medicine seemed to work as he had the lead at 19 miles. At 20 miles he was again ready to collapse when he was given the same potions along with sips of brandy. He was then passed by Fred Lorz, who was refreshed after having ridden in an automobile most of the race.

Lorz entered the stadium first and received the crowd's plaudits, as they were oblivious to his scheme. Hicks came shortly after, almost dead on his feet. He had finished the race by slow jogging interspersed with periods of walking. Lorz was soon found out and was banned from amateur competition for life, only to see it rescinded in time for him to win the 1905 Boston Marathon.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Tom Hicks 28 United States USA Gold 3-28:53
2 Albert Corey France FRA Silver 3-34:52
3 Arthur Newton 21 United States USA Bronze 3-47:33
4 Félix Carvajal 29 Cuba CUB
5 Dimitrios Veloulis Greece GRE
6 David Kneeland 22 United States USA
7 Henry Brawley 27 United States USA
8 Sidney Hatch 20 United States USA
9 Len Taunyane South Africa RSA
10 Khristos Zekhouritis Greece GRE
11 Harry Devlin United States USA
12 Jan Mashiani South Africa RSA
13 John Furla 33 United States USA
14 Andrew Oikonomou Greece GRE
AC Frank Pierce United States USA DNF
AC Sammy Mellor 24 United States USA DNF
AC Edward Carr 26 United States USA DNF
AC Mike Spring 24 United States USA DNF
AC Fred Lorz 20 United States USA DNF
AC John Lordan 28 United States USA DNF
AC William Garcia 27 United States USA DNF
AC Bob Fowler 21 Newfoundland NFL DNF
AC Thomas Kennedy 19 United States USA DNF
AC Guy Porter 19 United States USA DNF
AC John Foy 22 United States USA DNF
AC Bertie Harris South Africa RSA DNF
AC Georgios Vamkaitis Greece GRE DNF
AC Kharilaos Giannakas Greece GRE DNF
AC Georgios Drosos Greece GRE DNF
AC Georgios Louridas Greece GRE DNF
AC Ioannis Loungitsas Greece GRE DNF
AC Petros Pipilis Greece GRE DNF