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Athletics at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Men's Marathon

Athletics at the 1936 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

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.

Gold: JPN Son Gi-Jeong
Silver: GBR Ernie Harper
Bronze: JPN Shoryu Nan

Summary

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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Son Gi-Jeong 21 Japan JPN Gold 2-29:19.2 OB
2 Ernie Harper 34 Great Britain GBR Silver 2-31:23.2
3 Shoryu Nan 23 Japan JPN Bronze 2-31:42.0
4 Erkki Tamila 25 Finland FIN 2-32:45.0
5 Väinö Muinonen 37 Finland FIN 2-33:46.0
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
9 Mauno Tarkiainen 31 Finland FIN 2-39:33.0
10 Thore Enochsson 27 Sweden SWE 2-43:12.0
11 Stylianos Kyriakidis 26 Greece GRE 2-43:20.0
12 Nouba Khaled 30 France FRA 2-45:34.0
13 Henry Palmé 28 Sweden SWE 2-46:08.4
14 Franz Tuschek 37 Austria AUT 2-46:29.0
15 Jimmy Bartlett 28 Canada CAN 2-48:21.4
16 Émile Duval 29 France FRA 2-48:39.8
17 Manuel Dias 31 Portugal POR 2-49:00.0
18 Johnny Kelley 28 United States USA 2-49:32.4
19 Miloslav Luňák 34 Czechoslovakia TCH 2-50:26.0
20 Felix Meskens 30 Belgium BEL 2-51:19.0
21 Ján Takáč 27 Czechoslovakia TCH 2-51:20.0
22 Rudolf Wöber 24 Austria AUT 2-51:28.0
23 Ludovic Gal 36 Romania ROU 2-55:02.0
24 Robert Nevens 22 Belgium BEL 2-55:51.0
25 Anders Hartington Andersen 29 Denmark DEN 2-56:31.0
26 Gabriel Mendoza 30 Peru PER 2-57:17.8
27 Tommy Lalande 31 South Africa RSA 2-57:20.0
28 Artūrs Motmillers 35 Latvia LAT 2-58:02.0
29 Eduard Braesecke 30 Germany GER 2-59:33.4
30 Percy Wyer 52 Canada CAN 3-00:11.0
31 Fernand Le Heurteur 30 France FRA 3-01:11.0
32 Wilhelm Rothmayer 25 Austria AUT 3-02:32.0
33 Bronisław Gancarz 29 Poland POL 3-03:11.0
34 Max Beer 23 Switzerland SUI 3-06:26.0
35 Guillermo Suárez 23 Peru PER 3-08:18.0
36 Boris Kharalampiev 28 Bulgaria BUL 3-08:53.8
37 Arul Swami 22 India IND 3-10:44.0
38 Josef Šulc 28 Czechoslovakia TCH 3-11:47.4
39 Franz Eha 29 Switzerland SUI 3-18:17.0
40 Wang Zhenglin 23 China CHN 3-25:36.4
41 Stane Šporn 32 Yugoslavia YUG 3-30:47.0
42 José Farías 26 Peru PER 3-33:24.0
AC Juan Acosta 29 Chile CHI DNF
AC Franz Barsicke 31 Germany GER DNF
AC Tarzan Brown 21 United States USA DNF
AC Giannino Bulzone 25 Italy ITA DNF
AC Paul de Bruyn 28 Germany GER DNF
AC Kazimierz Fiałka 29 Poland POL DNF
AC Aurelio Genghini 28 Italy ITA DNF
AC Billy McMahon 26 United States USA DNF
AC Jaime Mendes 22 Portugal POR DNF
AC Bert Norris 37 Great Britain GBR DNF
AC Luis Oliva 28 Argentina ARG DNF
AC Tamao Shiwaku 30 Japan JPN DNF
AC Harold Webster 41 Canada CAN DNF
AC Juan Carlos Zabala 24 Argentina ARG DNF