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

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Men's 5 miles
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
Venue White City Stadium
Dates July 15 (semifinals)
July 18 (final)
Competitors 36 from 14 nations
1st, gold medalist(s) Emil Voigt  Great Britain
2nd, silver medalist(s) Edward Owen  Great Britain
3rd, bronze medalist(s) John Svanberg  Sweden
Athletics at the
1908 Summer Olympics
Olympic Athletics.png
Track events
100 m   men
200 m men
400 m men
800 m men
1500 m men
5 miles men
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men
3200 m steeplechase men
Medley relay men
3 mile team race men
Road events
Marathon men
3500 m walk men
10 mile walk men
Field events
Long jump men
Triple jump men
High jump men
Pole vault men
Standing long jump men
Standing high jump men
Shot put men
Discus throw men
Hammer throw men
Javelin throw men
Greek discus men
Freestyle javelin men

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 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.


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 United Kingdom Alfred Shrubb Stamford Bridge (GBR) May 1904
Olympic Record 26:11.8 United Kingdom Henry Hawtrey Athens (GRE) 1906


First round[edit]

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

First round, heat 1 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

Place Name Nation Time
1 John Svanberg  Sweden 25:46.2
2 Charles Hefferon  South Africa 26:05.0
3 George Blake  Australasia unknown
William Coales  Great Britain DNF
Gaston Ragueneau  France DNF

First round, heat 2 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

Place Name Nation Time
1 Emil Voigt  Great Britain 26:13.4
2 Frederick Bellars  United States 26:45.0
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

First round, heat 3 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

Place Name Nation Time
1 Seth Landqvist  Sweden 27:00.2
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

First round, heat 4

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.

Place Name Nation Time
1 James Murphy  Great Britain 25:59.2
2 Frederick Meadows  Canada 26:16.2
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

First round, heat 5 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

Place Name Nation Time
1 Arthur Robertson  Great Britain 25:50.2
2 John E. Fitzgerald  Canada 26:05.8
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

First round, heat 6 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

Place Name Nation Time
1 Edward Owen  Great Britain 26:12.0
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 during the final race of the 5 miles (8.0 km). Owen crossed the one mile (1.6 km) mark first, at 4:46.2. Hefferon was leading at the two and three mile (5 km) marks, at times of 9:54.2 and 15:05.6. After four miles (6 km), Svanberg was in front, having finished 80% of the race in 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.

Place Name Nation Time
1 Emil Voigt  Great Britain 25:11.2 OR
2 Edward Owen  Great Britain 25:24.0
3 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


  • 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.