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
1st, gold medalist(s) Mizuki Noguchi  Japan
2nd, silver medalist(s) Catherine Ndereba  Kenya
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Deena Kastor  United States
← 2000
2008 →
Athletics at the
2004 Summer Olympics
Olympic Athletics.png
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 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 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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