Athletics at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's 5 miles

The men's 5 miles race was held at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. It was discontinued after that in favour of the metric races of 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres. The competition was held on July 15, 1908, and July 18, 1908. 36 runners from 14 nations competed; seven from Great Britain, five from Sweden, four each from the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, two each from Denmark, France and Australasia, and one each from Hungary, South Africa, Greece, Germany, Bohemia and Italy. There were six preliminary heats, with the winner and the four runners-up with the best time advancing to the final.[1] NOCs could enter up to 12 athletes.[2]

Men's 5 miles
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
VenueWhite City Stadium
DatesJuly 15 (semifinals)
July 18 (final)
Competitors36 from 14 nations
1st place, gold medalist(s) Emil Voigt  Great Britain
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Edward Owen  Great Britain
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) John Svanberg  Sweden


These are the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1908 Summer Olympics. The 5 miles (8.0 km) race was only held twice at the Olympic, 1906 and 1908.

World Record 24:33.2   Alfred Shrubb Stamford Bridge (GBR) May 1904
Olympic Record 26:11.8   Henry Hawtrey Athens (GRE) 1906


First roundEdit

All first round heats were held on July 15, 1908.

Heat 1Edit

Ragueneau retired in the first quarter-mile. Coales dropped out after about four miles (6 km). Hefferon led for about half the race before Svanberg passed him.

Intermediate times: 1 mile 4:52.0, 2 miles 10:02.8, 3 miles 15:10.4, 4 miles 20:29.4

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 John Svanberg   Sweden 25:46.2 Q
2 Charles Hefferon   South Africa 26:05.0 q
3 George Blake   Australasia Unknown
William Coales   Great Britain DNF
Gaston Ragueneau   France DNF

Heat 2Edit

Voigt broke away from the pack at about four miles (6 km).

Intermediate times: 1 mile 5:06.2, 2 miles 10:40.0, 3 miles 16:06.0, 4 miles 21:16.0

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Emil Voigt   Great Britain 26:13.4 Q
2 Frederick Bellars   United States 26:45.0 q
3 Pericle Pagliani   Italy 26:56.4
4 Kjeld Nielsen   Denmark 27:04.8
Willem Wakker   Netherlands DNF
Georgios Koulouberdas   Greece DNF
Edward Dahl   Sweden DNF

Heat 3Edit

Landqvist led the entire way, gradually pulling away from the rest of the runners.

Intermediate times: 1 mile 5:07.6, 2 miles 10:32.6, 3 miles 15:53.4, 4 miles 21:26.2

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Seth Landqvist   Sweden 27:00.2 Q
2 Edward Carr   United States 27:24.4
3 Julius Jørgensen   Denmark 28:08.8
4 Charles Hall   United States 28:24.0
5 Paul Nettelbeck   Germany 28:31.6
Wilhelmus Braams   Netherlands DNF

Heat 4Edit

Intermediate times: 1 mile 4:49.6, 2 miles 9:59.8, 3 miles 15:12.4, 4 miles 20:31.4

Murphy was in the lead for the entirety of the race.

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 James Murphy   Great Britain 25:59.2 Q
2 Frederick Meadows   Canada 26:16.2 q
3 Georg Peterson   Sweden 26:50.4
4 Paul Lizandier   France 27:10.8
Joe Deakin   Great Britain DNF
John Tait   Canada DNF
Jacques Keyser   Netherlands DNF

Heat 5Edit

Fitzgerald, Robertson, and Stevenson were close together for the first mile, then Robertson broke away. This left Fitzgerald and Stevenson to fight over second place.

Intermediate times: 1 mile 4:52.8, 2 miles 10:02.6, 3 miles 15:18.4, 4 miles 20:37.4

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Arthur Robertson   Great Britain 25:50.2 Q
2 John E. Fitzgerald   Canada 26:05.8 q
3 Samuel Stevenson   Great Britain 26:17.0
Axel Wiegandt   Sweden DNF
Joseph Lynch   Australasia DNF
Arie Vosbergen   Netherlands DNF
Herbert Trube   United States DNF

Heat 6Edit

Owen had the largest margin of victory in the preliminary heats, defeating Galbraith by a full lap of the track.

Intermediate times: 1 mile 4:46.8, 2 miles 9:56.0, 3 miles 15:19.2, 4 miles 20:51.0

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Edward Owen   Great Britain 26:12.0 Q
2 William Galbraith   Canada 27:23.3
3 Arnošt Nejedlý   Bohemia 28:29.8
Antal Lovas   Hungary DNF


The final was held on July 18, 1908.

Fitzgerald, Murphy, Owen, Svanberg, Hefferon, and Voigt led at various times during the final. Owen led after one mile (1.6 km) reached in 4:46.2, with Hefferon leading at the two and three mile (5 km) marks, with times of 9:54.2 and 15:05.6. After four miles (6 km), Svanberg was in front, with a time of 20:19.2. In the last two laps, Voigt sprinted to the lead which he kept until the end of the contest. He won the race setting a new Olympic record. As the competition has been discontinued, his Olympic record still stands.

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
  Emil Voigt   Great Britain 25:11.2 OR
  Edward Owen   Great Britain 25:24.0
  John Svanberg   Sweden 25:37.2
4 Charles Hefferon   South Africa 25:44.0
5 Arthur Robertson   Great Britain 26:13.0
6 Frederick Meadows   Canada 26:16.2
7 John E. Fitzgerald   Canada Unknown
8 Frederick Bellars   United States Unknown
9 Seth Landqvist   Sweden Unknown
James Murphy   Great Britain DNF


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1908 London Games: Men's 5 Mile". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  2. ^ Official report, p. 32.


  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report. London: British Olympic Association.
  • De Wael, Herman (2001). "Athletics 1908". Herman's Full Olympians. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 12 March 2008.