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The 1904 St. Louis Marathon

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 30 Aug 1904 to 30 Aug 1904
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United Statesmap
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This is a page about the men's marathon at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, considered the strangest ever.

The marathon was held on 30 August 1904 in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. It was started at 3 pm, while most contemporary marathons start in the early morning. The race started with five laps around the stadium track, the rest of the course was on hilly, dusty country roads and ended back in the stadium. The race officials rode in vehicles ahead and behind the runners, creating clouds of dust.

The only two sources of water for the competitors were a water tower at 6 miles and a well at about the 12-mile mark. Chief organizer James E. Sullivan wished to conduct research on "purposeful dehydration", a theory that dehydration could actually improve athletic performance. The marathon being conducted in 90 °F (32 °C) heat over unpaved roads choked with dust, it ended with the worst ratio of entrants to finishers and the slowest winning time in Olympic history, in spite of being only 24.85 miles (39.99 km).

The first to arrive was Fred Lorz. However, it was found that he had dropped out of the race after 9 miles, and rode back to the stadium in a car, just running the final mile before the finish line. After posing for a photograph with Alice Roosevelt, the President's daughter, he was on the point of receiving his medal when the subterfuge was revealed.

The winner of the race was Thomas Hicks. But he had been aided by extraordinary measures: during the last half of the race, he recieved several doses of strychnine, mixed with egg whites and brandy. He continued the race but was hallucinating and barely able to walk. He had to carried over the line by his support team.

Albert Corey, a Frenchman living in Chicago, finished second. France had not sent a delegation to the St. Louis Olympics and Corey's medal was attributed to the United States (the Olympic Committee now lists his medal with France).

Arthur Newton, of the United States, finished third.

Andarin Cadaval was a Cuban postman who joined the marathon at the last minute, having lost all his money gambling and hitchiked to St. Louis. He ran the marathon in street clothes, his trousers cut around the knees to look like shorts. He stopped to pick apples from an orchard (not having eaten in 40 hours) but the apples caused stomach cramps which he had to sleep off.

The marathon included two black South African entrants, Len Tau and Jan Mashiani. They happened to be in St. Louis as part of the South African exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair. Tau finished ninth after being chased nearly one mile off the course by feral dogs. Mashiani finished twelfth.

William Garcia of the United States was a near fatality. He was found lying in the road along the marathon course with severe internal injuries caused by breathing the clouds of dust kicked up by the race officials' cars.

Schedule: Tuesday, 30 August 1904 15:00
Distance: 24.85 miles (39.99 km)
Conditions: 90 °F (32 °C)
Competitiors: 32 (from 4 nations: United States, Greece, South Africa, Cuba)
Finishers: 14
Winning time: 3:28:53
1Thomas Hicks United States3:28:53
2Albert Corey France / United States3:34:52
3Arthur Newton United States3:47:33
4Andarín Carvajal CubaUnknown
5Dimitrios Veloulis GreeceUnknown
6David Kneeland United StatesUnknown
7Harry Brawley United StatesUnknown
8Sidney Hatch United StatesUnknown
9Len Tau South AfricaUnknown
10Christos Zechouritis GreeceUnknown
11Harry Devlin United StatesUnknown
12Jan Mashiani South AfricaUnknown
13John Furla United StatesUnknown
14Andrew Oikonomou GreeceUnknown
Edward P. Carr United StatesDNF
Georgios Drosos GreeceDNF
Robert Fowler United StatesDNF
John Foy United StatesDNF
William Garcia United StatesDNF
Kharilaos Giannakas GreeceDNF
Bertie Harris South AfricaDNF
Thomas J. Kennedy United StatesDNF
John Lordon United StatesDNF
Ioannis Loungitsas GreeceDNF
Georgios Louridas GreeceDNF
Samuel Mellor United StatesDNF
Frank Pierce United StatesDNF
Petros Pipiles GreeceDNF
Guy Porter United StatesDNF
Michael Spring United StatesDNF
Georgios Vamkaitis GreeceDNF
Frederick Lorz United States3:13:00 DSQ


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