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  • The Best Marathoners Ever?

    The latest issue of Athletics Weekly offers a top 10 (offered without commentary by me):

    1. Khannouchi
    2. Lopes
    3. Bikila
    4. Tergat
    5. Peters
    6. de Castella
    7. Abera
    8. Bordin
    9. Cierpinski
    10. Anton

  • #2
    Re: The Best Marathoners Ever?

    I saw that AW piece and it almost made me cry, longing for the days when it truly was a magnificent piece of athletics journalism. The current version is such pale imposter. I offer you this from those marathon rankings, relative to Jim Peters:

    'Many will remembver him for the 1954 Commonwealth Games, where he captained the England team and led by three miles approaching the stadium. However, having fallen 12 times during the race in the fierce conditions he was grabbed approaching the line by officials and spectators congratulating him and was subsequently disqualified.'

    This from an author touted as 'road running expert'!

    Unfortunately, I lost my AW collection in a move many years ago but I know they would have gotten it right in those days. For what really happened, let me share with you what TFN's Bert Nelson wrote:

    'An estimated two hours, 19 minutes after 15 marathoners set off on a hilly, city street course the announcer reported "the first runner is at the top of the hill and is in trouble". Seconds passed, and lengthened into minutes before Jim Peters stumbled onto the track. Immediately he fell, as a horrified crowd realized the world's greatest marathoner was in extremely bad shape.

    'For the next five agonizing minutes, Peters bravely, if senselessly, fought his way for 150 painful yards. Nearly all control of his body was gone as the 35-year-old Jim fell 11 times. Sometimes he was down for only a few seconds, once for nearly half a minute.

    'Painfully lurching to his feet, Peters would stagger a few yards, his head flopping loosesly, his feet outspread like a crab's, and his arms flailing the air for support that was not there. Then down he would go, sometimes to his knees, sometimes backwards to land flat on his back. Always he summoned an inner drive to stagger on.

    'The sickening drama came to merciful end when Peters reached the finish line used for other races, but which was 200 yards short of the marathon finish. There he was carried off the track. Only later was it learned that the English team captain had ordered Peters' removal, which, of course, disqualified him.'

    Not exactly the same story is it? Later in the story the temperature was cited as 73 in the shade.

    Anybody have an AW collection that would provide what was said there?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Best Marathoners Ever?

      To not have Shorter on that list should be a crime.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Best Marathoners Ever?

        The following is the United Press account of the Peters race in the '54 Empire Games, as published in the New York Times:

        http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=0& ... entId=3748

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Best Marathoners Ever?

          That URL requires registration. Nobody gets my data.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Best Marathoners Ever?

            >To not have Shorter on that list should be a
            >crime.>>

            If you're a parochial American, sure.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Best Marathoners Ever?

              If you have a pulse and know anything about the marathon and its history you would put Shorter above several of those on the list.

              Being an American or not has nothing to do with it.

              I would wager that most on that list would agree.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ron Hill

                Why? I dunno, "The Long Hard Road" was the most hard core book I ever read.....I don't know who is more under appreciated...Ron Hill or Bob Schul in the running world.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Ron Hill

                  In my book Bikila is head and shoulders above the crowd. Competition is for the second place.
                  "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                  by Thomas Henry Huxley

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ron Hill

                    <In my book Bikila is head and shoulders above the crowd. Competition is for the second place.>

                    Hear, hear. Too many "all-time rankings" look to fast times only. This has to be backed up by won-loss record versus top competitors and major championship races won. The latter means winning against all top comers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Best Marathoners Ever

                      Bikila trivia: after his Tokyo win, in what event(s) did he make his next international championships appearance?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Best Marathoners Ever

                        Bikila made his mark where it counted ... 2 OC, each in WR time... nothing more needs to be said...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Best Marathoners Ever

                          I would say Bikele, but say Khounouchi(sorry for the spelling) is highly overrated, what has he done besides his world best. Also Shorter should have been a double gold medalist, Cierpenski wasn't clean in Montreal I can garuntee it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Best Marathoners Ever

                            Shorter and Rodgers both should be in there. Cierpinski was a total user - Rodgers still would have sent him to the dry cleaners if he had been allowed to compete in 1980. Agreed, Khannouchi overrated - Bikila still the man.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Best Marathoners Ever

                              I just noted that nobody ever answered my Bikila trivia question (couple of posts up) from back in November. Course, now I may have to go look for the precise answer myself!

                              Comment

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