Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Women's marathon

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Women's marathon
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
Venue Marathon to Athens, Greece
Dates 22 August
Competitors 82 from 46 nations
Winning time 2:26:20
Gold medal    Japan
Silver medal    Kenya
Bronze medal    United States
2000 2008
Athletics at the
2004 Summer Olympics
Athletics pictogram.svg
Track events
100 m   men   women
200 m men women
400 m men women
800 m men women
1500 m men women
5000 m men women
10,000 m men women
100 m hurdles women
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men women
3000 m
4×100 m relay men women
4×400 m relay men women
Road events
Marathon men women
20 km walk men women
50 km walk men
Field events
Long jump men women
Triple jump men women
High jump men women
Pole vault men women
Shot put men women
Discus throw men women
Javelin throw men women
Hammer throw men women
Combined events
Heptathlon women
Decathlon men
Wheelchair races

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]

The 26.2 mile journey began in Marathon. 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 Name Nationality Result Notes
1st, gold medalist(s) Mizuki Noguchi Japan 2:26:20
2nd, silver medalist(s) Catherine Ndereba Kenya 2:26:32
3rd, bronze medalist(s) 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 Maria 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 Kyung-hee 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 Timor-Leste 3:18:25
66 Luvsanlkhündegiin Otgonbayar Mongolia 3:48:42
67 Paula Radcliffe Great Britain DNF
68 Margaret Okayo Kenya DNF
69 Ulrike Maisch Germany DNF
70 Monika Drybulska Poland DNF
71 Ham Bong-sil North Korea DNF
72 Rakiya Maraoui-Quétier France DNF
73 Nasria Azaidj Algeria DNF
74 Márcia Narloch Brazil DNF
75 Marlene Fortunato Brazil DNF
76 Asha Gigi Ethiopia DNF
77 Lidia Şimon Romania DNF
78 Nadia Ejjafini Bahrain DNF
79 Banuelia Mrashani Tanzania DNF
80 Workenesh Tola Ethiopia DNF
81 Lale Öztürk Turkey DNF
82 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. 

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