Host City: Roma, Italy
Venue(s): Arch of Constantine, Roma
Date Started: September 10, 1960
Date Finished: September 10, 1960
Format: 42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) point-to-point.
|Silver:||Rhadi Ben Abdesselam|
The 1960 Olympic marathon is probably the most unusual marathon in Olympic history. It is the only Olympic marathon that neither started, nor finished at the Olympic stadium. The race started in the late afternoon and finished in the dark, the course lit by torches to illuminate the route. And it was won by a man running barefooted.
The race started at 5:30 PM at the Piazza di Campidoglio, one of Roma's seven hills. The course was a triangular loop, running along many of the wonders of Ancient Roma. The course passed along the Caracalla Baths, ran down the Appian Way, and finished under the Arch of Constantine, in the dark.
The favorite was probably the Soviet runner, Sergey Popov, who on 11 October 1959, at the Košice Marathon in Czechoslovakia, had become the second runner under 2-20, breaking the world record with 2-17:45.2. The early lead was taken by the Belgian Aurèle Vandendriessche, who had won five Belgian titles since 1956. He was joined by a small group that included Britain's Arthur Keily, and two African runners, Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila and the Moroccan, Rhadi Ben Abdesselam. Bikila was unusual as he was running the race barefoot. By 20 km. Bikila and Rhadi had taken the lead, and they would run together until near the stadium. At about 500 metres from the finish, at the Piazza di Porta Capena, running down the torchlit way, Bikila finally broke Rhadi and pulled away to win the race by 25 seconds. It was ironic that Bikila made his move as he passed the Obelisco di Azum, which had been brought to the square from Ethiopia after the Italian invasion of that nation by Mussolini. The bronze medal was won by New Zealand's Barry Magee, with two Soviet runners following – Konstantin Vorobyov in 4th and Popov in 5th.
Bikila would return to run the Olympic marathon again in 1964, winning in world record time. By then he would be acclaimed as the greatest marathoner ever, and many experts still give him that title. In his career, he ran 15 marathons between 1959-68, winning 12 of the first 13, but not finishing his last two, which included his final race at the 1968 Olympics. He would later be severely injured in a car crash, and rendered quadriparetic, dying in the early 1970s.
|2||Rhadi Ben Abdesselam||31||Morocco||MAR||Silver||2-15:41.6|
|3||Barry Magee||26||New Zealand||NZL||Bronze||2-17:18.2|
|4||Konstantin Vorobyov||29||Soviet Union||URS||2-19:09.6|
|5||Sergey Popov||29||Soviet Union||URS||2-19:18.8|
|8||Bakir Ben Aissa||29||Morocco||MAR||2-21:21.4|
|11||Nikolay Rumyantsev||30||Soviet Union||URS||2-21:49.4|
|13||Keith James||25||South Africa||RSA||2-22:58.6|
|16||Sonny O'Gorman||32||Great Britain||GBR||2-24:16.2|
|18||Jeff Julian||24||New Zealand||NZL||2-24:50.6|
|19||Johnny Kelley||29||United States||USA||2-24:58.0|
|20||Lee Chang-Hun||25||South Korea||KOR||2-25:02.2|
|25||Arthur Keily||39||Great Britain||GBR||2-27:00.0|
|29||Brian Kilby||22||Great Britain||GBR||2-28:55.0|
|30||Alex Breckenridge||28||United States||USA||2-29:38.0|
|38||Silvio De Florentis||25||Italy||ITA||2-31:54.0|
|39||Linus Diaz||26||Sri Lanka||SRI||2-32:12.0|
|47||Lee Sang-Cheol||24||South Korea||KOR||2-35:14.0|
|48||Gordon McKenzie||33||United States||USA||2-35:16.0|
|51||Ray Puckett||24||New Zealand||NZL||2-37:36.0|
|59||Arap Sum Kanuti||Kenya||KEN||2-46:55.2|
|AC||Vito Di Terlizzi||30||Italy||ITA||DNF|
|AC||Kim Yeon-Beom||25||South Korea||KOR||DNF|