Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
Date Started: August 7, 1948
Date Finished: August 7, 1948
Format: 42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) out-and-back.
With the world recovering from the effects of World War II, it was difficult to choose a favorite in 1948. Finland’s Viljo Heino was to make his marathon début at London, and as the world-record holder at 10,000 metres and in the one-hour run, he was considered someone to watch. The London organizers chose to not to run over the point-to-point course used for the 1908 Olympics, which had established the standard marathon distance of 42.195 km. (26 miles, 385 yards). Instead, the race started and finished at Wembley Stadium, looping thru the London suburbs.
Raceday was cloudy and humid, with some wind, with the event starting at 3 PM. The immediate lead was taken by the Belgian Étienne Gailly in his marathon début. He held the lead almost the entire race, but was passed briefly at about 35 km. by the Korean, Choi Yoon-Chil. However, Gailly regained the lead quickly and held it as he entered Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately, he had given all he had to that point. He was wobbling and stumbling along the track, evoking memories of Dorando Pietri in 1908. On the track he was passed first by Argentina’s Delfo Cabrera, who had run a steady pace moving up throughout, and then by Britain’s Tom Richards. Cabrera won the gold medal, with Richards second. Gailly was able to finish the race, and held on for a bronze medal.
|2||Tom Richards||38||Great Britain||GBR||Silver||2-35:07.6|
|4||Johannes Coleman||38||South Africa||RSA||2-36:06.0|
|6||Syd Luyt||22||South Africa||RSA||2-38:11.0|
|14||Ted Vogel||23||United States||USA||2-45:27.0|
|21||Johnny Kelley||40||United States||USA||2-51:56.0|
|24||Ollie Manninen||31||United States||USA||2-56:49.0|
|25||Hong Jong-O||23||South Korea||KOR||2-56:54.0|
|27||Seo Yun-Bok||25||South Korea||KOR||2-59:36.0|
|30||Stan Jones||33||Great Britain||GBR||3-09:16.0|
|AC||Jack Holden||41||Great Britain||GBR||DNF|
|AC||Choi Yun-Chil||20||South Korea||KOR||DNF|