Open main menu

Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Women's marathon

The women's marathon at the 2004 Summer Olympics took place on August 22 in the streets of Athens, Greece. These streets were recently painted for the event, which provided an excellent road surface for the athletes. Drawing upon the ancient origins of the race, the marathon began in Marathon, Greece, and eventually ended at Panathinaiko Stadium, the venue previously used for the 1896 Athens Olympics.[1]

Women's marathon
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
VenueMarathon to Athens, Greece
Dates22 August
Competitors82 from 46 nations
Winning time2:26:20
1st, gold medalist(s) Mizuki Noguchi  Japan
2nd, silver medalist(s) Catherine Ndereba  Kenya
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Deena Kastor  United States
← 2000
2008 →

The 26.2 mile journey began in Marathon and the race over the classic course began with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees (35 °C).The top contenders all found themselves in a large leading group that held a modest pace through the half marathon. A few tried to surge ahead, but a pack of five runners had been separated from the rest of the field to maintain at the front as they passed the 20k mark.[2]

World record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain, who started out as a pre-race favorite coming into the Games, raised the tempo taking four others, including the Japanese duo Mizuki Noguchi and Reiko Tosa, with her to the front. Past 25k, Radcliffe struggled to keep her pace on an uphill stretch of the course and fell behind, leaving the two runners Noguchi and Ethiopia's Elfenesh Alemu to chase into the front with only half a minute apart from each other. At around 35k, Radcliffe launched a brave charge to recover her pace and challenge the leaders into the medal position, until Kenya's Catherine Ndereba managed to overtake her. Distraught and sobbing, Radcliffe tried to restart with 6k left to the finish, but then slumped on the roadside and quit the race, citing pre-race nutrition problems and injuries for her disappointing performance.[3]

Heading to the Panathinaiko Stadium, Noguchi continued to escalate her lead, and edged past the late-charging Ndereba by twelve seconds to win the Olympic gold medal in 2:26:20. Noguchi's victory also marked the second consecutive gold for Japan in the women's marathon with Naoko Takahashi claiming the event in Sydney four years earlier.[4][5]

Meanwhile, Deena Kastor of the United States came from behind to easily surpass the fading Alemu, and earn the first Olympic medal by an American female in the event since 1984.[2]

Among the 82 starters, only sixty-six were able to successfully finish the race, with two left the track seeking for a medical attention.[2]


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record   Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 2:15:25 London, United Kingdom 13 April 2003
Olympic record   Naoko Takahashi (JPN) 2:23:14 Sydney, Australia 24 September 2000

No new records were set during the competition.


The qualification period for athletics was 1 January 2003 to 9 August 2004. For the men's marathon, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 2:37:00 or faster during the qualification period. If an NOC had no athletes that qualified under that standard, one athlete that had run the race in 2:42:00 or faster could be entered.


All times are Greece Standard Time (UTC+2)

Date Time Round
Sunday, 22 August 2004 18:00 Final


Rank[6] Name Nationality Result Notes
  Mizuki Noguchi   Japan 2:26:20
  Catherine Ndereba   Kenya 2:26:32
  Deena Kastor   United States 2:27:20 SB
4 Elfenesh Alemu   Ethiopia 2:28:15
5 Reiko Tosa   Japan 2:28:44
6 Olivera Jevtić   Serbia and Montenegro 2:31:15
7 Naoko Sakamoto   Japan 2:31:43
8 Lyudmila Petrova   Russia 2:31:56
9 Svetlana Zakharova   Russia 2:32:04
10 Bruna Genovese   Italy 2:32:50
11 Alice Chelangat   Kenya 2:33:52
12 Zhang Shujing   China 2:34:34
13 Nuța Olaru   Romania 2:34:45
14 Živilė Balčiūnaitė   Lithuania 2:35:01
15 Corinne Raux   France 2:35:54
16 Rosaria Console   Italy 2:35:56
17 Małgorzata Sobańska   Poland 2:36:43
18 Luminita Zaituc   Germany 2:36:45
19 Lee Eun-jung   South Korea 2:37:23
20 Constantina Diţă   Romania 2:37:31
21 Jong Yong-ok   North Korea 2:37:52
22 Li Helan   China 2:37:53
23 Chung Yun-hee   South Korea 2:38:57
24 Stine Larsen   Norway 2:39:55
25 Liz Yelling   Great Britain 2:40:13
26 María Abel   Spain 2:40:13
27 Hafida Izem   Morocco 2:40:46
28 Anna Pichrtová   Czech Republic 2:40:58
29 Tracey Morris   Great Britain 2:41:00
30 Kenza Wahbi   Morocco 2:41:36
31 Kerryn McCann   Australia 2:41:41
32 Beatriz Ros   Spain 2:41:51
33 Zhou Chunxiu   China 2:42:54
34 Jennifer Rhines   United States 2:43:52
35 Choi Gyeong-hui   South Korea 2:44:05
36 Sandra Ruales   Ecuador 2:44:28
37 María Dolores Pulido   Spain 2:44:33
38 Margarita Tapia   Mexico 2:46:14
39 Colleen de Reuck   United States 2:46:30
40 Albina Ivanova   Russia 2:47:23
41 Grażyna Syrek   Poland 2:47:26
42 Nili Abramski   Israel 2:48:08
43 Clarisse Rasoarizay   Madagascar 2:48:14
44 Jane Salumäe   Estonia 2:48:47
45 Simona Staicu   Hungary 2:48:57
46 Angélica Sánchez   Mexico 2:49:04
47 Helena Sampaio   Portugal 2:49:18
48 Beáta Rakonczai   Hungary 2:49:41
49 Annemette Jensen   Denmark 2:50:01
50 Georgia Abatzidou   Greece 2:50:01
51 Liza Hunter-Galvan   New Zealand 2:50:23
52 Hafida Gadi   France 2:50:29
53 Gulsara Dadabaeva   Tajikistan 2:50:45
54 Epiphanie Nyirabarame   Rwanda 2:52:50 SB
55 Sandra Torres   Argentina 2:54:48
56 Jo Bun-hui   North Korea 2:55:54
57 Hsu Yu-fang   Chinese Taipei 2:55:58
58 Érika Olivera   Chile 2:57:14
59 Mariela González   Cuba 3:02:20
60 Ida Kovács   Hungary 3:03:21
61 Svetlana Şepelev-Tcaci   Moldova 3:03:29
62 Ana Dias   Portugal 3:08:11
63 Inga Juodeškienė   Lithuania 3:09:18
64 Mamokete Lechela   Lesotho 3:11:56
65 Aguida Amaral   East Timor 3:18:25
66 Luvsanlkhündegiin Otgonbayar   Mongolia 3:48:42
Paula Radcliffe   Great Britain DNF
Margaret Okayo   Kenya DNF
Ulrike Maisch   Germany DNF
Monika Drybulska   Poland DNF
Ham Bong-sil   North Korea DNF
Rakiya Maraoui-Quétier   France DNF
Nasria Baghdad-Azaïdj   Algeria DNF
Márcia Narloch   Brazil DNF
Marlene Fortunato   Brazil DNF
Asha Gigi   Ethiopia DNF
Lidia Şimon   Romania DNF
Nadia Ejjafini   Bahrain DNF
Banuelia Mrashani   Tanzania DNF
Workenesh Tola   Ethiopia DNF
Lale Öztürk   Turkey DNF
Irina Bogachova   Kyrgyzstan DNF


  1. ^ "IAAF Athens 2004: Women's Marathon Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Kepner, Tyler (23 August 2004). "Summer 2004 Games: Marathon: Women, Kastor Survives To Capture The Bronze". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Marathon agony for Radcliffe". BBC Sport. 22 August 2004. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  4. ^ Patrick, Dick (22 August 2004). "Noguchi claims marathon gold medal". CNN. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Noguchi – Practice makes perfection". IAAF. 23 August 2004. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Athletics at the 2004 Athens Summer Games: Women's Marathon". Retrieved 30 May 2017.

External linksEdit