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Athletics at the 1908 London Summer Games:

Men's 5 mile

Athletics at the 1908 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games


Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): White City Stadium, London
Date Started: July 15, 1908
Date Finished: July 18, 1908

Gold: GBR Emil Voigt
Silver: GBR Eddie Owen
Bronze: SWE John Svanberg


Only twice has a 5-mile race been contested at the Olympics, in 1906 and 1908. The world record for this distance was 24:33.4, set by Britain's Alfred Shrubb in London on 12 May 1904. Shrubb was the greatest long distance runner in the world but had since turned professional and could not compete at the 1908 Olympics. The Olympic record had been set in 1906 at Athens by another British runner, [Henry Hawtrey], who had recorded 26:11.8 on the tight Athens track. With Shrubb not eligible no real favorite existed. America had no top distance runners, and Britain had failed to produce a dominant distance man to replace Shrubb.

[Eddie Owen] (GBR), [Charles Hefferon] (RSA), who was later to finish second in the marathon, and [John Svanberg] (SWE) shared the early lead but 700 yards from home, [Emil Voigt] made his move and left the pack to win by 70 yards, although his winning time was almost 40 seconds outside Shrubb's world record. The splits and leaders were as follows: 1 mile - 4:26.2 [Owen]; 2 miles - 9:54.2 [Hefferon]; 3 miles - 15:05,6 [Hefferon]; 4 miles - 20:19.2 [Svanberg].

Four athletes who had competed in the final of the 3-mile Team Race also started in the heats of the 5 miles which began less than three hours after the team race final. [Joe Deakin] and [William Coales] (both GBR) and [Herb Trube] (USA) failed to finish in the heats but [Arthur Robertson] (GBR), who had individually finished 2nd in the team race final, won his heat in the 5 miles and then finished 5th in the final three days later.

Emil Voigt had won the AAA title at 4 miles only ten days before the Olympics. He repeated as AAA champion in 1909 and then won the one mile race in 1910 before retiring from competition. He claimed his athletic success was due to his vegetarianism.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Emil Voigt 25 Great Britain GBR Gold
2 Eddie Owen 21 Great Britain GBR Silver
3 John Svanberg 26 Sweden SWE Bronze
4 Charles Hefferon 30 South Africa RSA
5 Arthur Robertson 29 Great Britain GBR
6 Fred Meadows Canada CAN
7 John Fitzgerald 21 Canada CAN
8 Fred Bellars 20 United States USA
9 Seth Landqvist 25 Sweden SWE
AC James Murphy 28 Great Britain GBR
2 h2 r1/2 Edward Carr 30 United States USA
2 h6 r1/2 William Galbraith 23 Canada CAN
3 h1 r1/2 George Blake 29 Australasia ANZ
3 h2 r1/2 Pericle Pagliani 25 Italy ITA
3 h3 r1/2 Julius Jørgensen 27 Denmark DEN
3 h4 r1/2 Georg Peterson 25 Sweden SWE
3 h5 r1/2 Sam Stevenson Great Britain GBR
3 h6 r1/2 Arnošt Nejedlý 24 Bohemia BOH
4 h2 r1/2 Kjeld Nielsen 20 Denmark DEN
4 h3 r1/2 Charles Hall 21 United States USA
4 h4 r1/2 Paul Lizandier 23 France FRA
5 h3 r1/2 Paul Nettelbeck 19 Germany GER
AC h1 r1/2 Gaston Ragueneau 26 France FRA
AC h1 r1/2 William Coales 22 Great Britain GBR
AC h2 r1/2 Nikolaos Kouloumberdas Greece GRE
AC h2 r1/2 Willem Wakker 28 Netherlands NED
AC h2 r1/2 Edward Dahl 21 Sweden SWE
AC h3 r1/2 Wilhelmus Braams 21 Netherlands NED
AC h4 r1/2 Jack Tait 19 Canada CAN
AC h4 r1/2 Joe Deakin 29 Great Britain GBR
AC h4 r1/2 Jacques Keyser 22 Netherlands NED
AC h5 r1/2 Joseph Lynch 30 Australasia ANZ
AC h5 r1/2 Axel Wiegandt 20 Sweden SWE
AC h5 r1/2 Herb Trube 21 United States USA
AC h6 r1/2 Antal Lovas 23 Hungary HUN