Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Imperial Sports Field, Berlin
Date Started: August 9, 1936
Date Finished: August 9, 1936
Format: 42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) out-and-back.
The 1936 marathon course began at the Berlin stadium and started out thru a forested section of Berlin. At 13 km., the runners ran 17 km. on an absolutely straight concrete highway, the Avusrennstrecke, before returning to the forests, to eventually end in the stadium. Six nations, Finland, Great Britain, Japan, Peru, South Africa, and the United States, entered a full complement of three runners. The Japanese team consisted of three Korean runners. After the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05, Japan had occupied Korea, and forced their athletes to compete under the Japanese flag. They were led by Sohn Kee-Chong, who was also required to race under a Japanese version of his name, Kitei Son. Sohn had run 12 marathons since 1933, winning nine of them, and never placing below third. In Tokyo, on 3 November 1935, he set the world record of 2-26:42, and among his 12 races, he had broken 2-30 seven times.
The race began at 3:00 PM, with the weather dry and clear, but not overly warm (22° C. 72° F.]). Sohn was never far from the lead and by the midway point, he and Britain's [Ernie Harper had moved into second and third, trailing the defending champion, Juan Carlos Zabala. But Zabala tripped and fell at 28 km. and Harper and Sohn passed him. He dropped out shortly thereafter. By 33 km. Sohn had pulled away and he eventually won the race by almost two minutes, Harper winning the silver medal.
Sohn was a proud Korean. When the Japanese anthem was played at his victory ceremony, he bowed his head and refused to acknowledge it. He told reporters that he was ashamed that he had to run for Japan. The next day, a leading Korean newspaper showed a photo of the victory ceremony, but covered the Japanese rising sun from his uniform singlet. For that, the Japanese jailed several of its employees and closed down the newspaper. Korea did not forget its first Olympic champion. In 1988, when Seoul hosted the Olympic Games, the Olympic torch was brought into the stadium by Sohn Kee-Chung, now running proudly under the Korean flag.
|2||Ernie Harper||34||Great Britain||GBR||Silver||2-31:23.2|
|6||Johannes Coleman||26||South Africa||RSA||2-36:17.0|
|7||Donald Robertson||30||Great Britain||GBR||2-37:06.2|
|8||Jackie Gibson||22||South Africa||RSA||2-38:04.0|
|18||Johnny Kelley||28||United States||USA||2-49:32.4|
|25||Anders Hartington Andersen||29||Denmark||DEN||2-56:31.0|
|27||Tommy Lalande||31||South Africa||RSA||2-57:20.0|
|31||Fernand Le Heurteur||30||France||FRA||3-01:11.0|
|AC||Tarzan Brown||21||United States||USA||DNF|
|AC||Paul de Bruyn||28||Germany||GER||DNF|
|AC||Billy McMahon||26||United States||USA||DNF|
|AC||Bert Norris||37||Great Britain||GBR||DNF|
|AC||Juan Carlos Zabala||24||Argentina||ARG||DNF|