Charilaos Vasilakos

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Charilaos Vasilakos
1896 Olympic marathon.jpg
Vasilakos in the middle,[1][2]
marathon runners in training, 1896[3][4]
Personal information
Born1875 (1875)
Piraeus, Greece
Died(1964-12-01)December 1, 1964
Athens, Greece
ClubPanellinios G.S.
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)Marathon: 3:06:03

Charilaos Vasilakos (Greek: Χαρίλαος Βασιλάκος, 1875 – December 1, 1964)[5] was a Greek athlete and the first man to win a marathon race.[6] He also won a silver medal at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens.[7]


Vasilakos was born in Piraeus, Greece.[8] His father Michael Vasilakos was from the Mani region and served in the army.[9] The oldest of three siblings, at age fourteen his father died.[9][10] As a young man he studied Law at the University of Athens and worked in the Athens court of first instance.[5][9] A member of Panellinios sports club, he was a dedicated athlete and pursued running.[11][12]

On March 22, 1896,[13] Greece held the first modern Panhellenic Games. The main purpose of the games was to select the team that would compete in the first Modern Olympic Games later the same year. All participants were members of Greek sports clubs. Vasilakos had a reputation as a strong long-distance runner. He won the marathon race with a time of 3 hours and 18 minutes.[8][12][14]

Vasilakos was one of seventeen athletes to start the Olympic race on April 10, 1896. He finished in second place, behind Spiridon Louis, with a time of 3:06.03 as one of only nine finishers. Both races were on 40 kilometre courses rather than the now-standard 42.195 kilometres.[12]

After the Olympics, Vasilakos helped establish, and participated in, racewalking in Greece.[15][16] In 1900 he won the first Greek 1000 metres walking race and participated in several races between 1900 and 1906.[15][5](p32)

Vasilakos studied law and went on to become a customs director in the Greek Ministry of Finance. He had a reputation for honesty and integrity.[8][12] In 1960 he was awarded the Gold Cross of the Order of Phoenix by King Paul of Greece.[9][5](p6) Annual marathon races in Olympia commemorate Vasilakos.[15][17] He was married to wife Helen.[16] He died in Athens in 1964.[16]

The 2011 book titled Ο Χαρίλαος Βασιλάκος και η αμφιλεγόμενη πρωτιά του Σπύρου Λούη, which translates from Greek to Charilaos Vasilakos and the controversial lead of Spyros Louis, presents a biography of Vasilakos and signs which challenge the 1896 Olympic race results.[18]


  1. ^ "The historical athletic and personal jewels of the Greek Olympic Champion Harilaos Vasilakos". Marathon Run Museum. Archived from the original on May 18, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2015.(Note: The webpage includes an image gallery, the last image in the gallery identifies Vasilakos as the middle runner.)
  2. ^ "Χαρίλαος Βασιλάκος" [Charilaos Vasilakos]. December 31, 2012. Archived from the original on May 21, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017. Google translation
  3. ^ Burton Holmes (1905). The Burton Holmes Lectures: The Olympian games in Athens. Grecian journeys. The wonders of Thessaly. New York: McClure, Phillips & Co. p. 69. ISBN 9781276985949. Retrieved April 25, 2015.(Digital compilation from original title: The Burton Holmes Lectures (Volume 3): With Illustrations from Photographs by the Author, Year:1901, ISBN 9781151940469, on November 6, 2008, University of Michigan)
  4. ^ "1896, Marathon Runners, Burton Holmes". Getty Images. Archived from the original on June 19, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "Βιογραφικό Χαρίλαου Βασιλάκου (1875–1964)" [Biography of Charilaos Vasilakos (1875–1964)] (PDF). 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 8, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017. Google translation
  6. ^ Sarah Bond (September 12, 2016). "September 12, 490 BCE: Remembering The Battle of Marathon On The 2,506th Anniversary". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  7. ^ David Martin (2000). "Marathon running as a social and athletic phenomenon: historical and current trends". In Dan Tunstall Pedoe (ed.). Marathon Medicine. London: Royal Society of Medicine Press. p. 31. ISBN 9781853154607. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "'Επέστρεψε' στον Μαραθώνα ο Χαρίλαος Βασιλάκος" [Charilaos Vasilakos "Returned" to Marathon]. May 3, 2013. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015. Google translation
  9. ^ a b c d Spyridoula Spanea (March 5, 2016). "Τα ιστορικά βήματα ενός άγνωστου θρύλου" [Historical steps of an unknown legend]. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2017. Google translation
  10. ^ Donald George Makfaiil (2003). "Τρέχει σαν … Βασιλάκος" [Runs like ... Vasilakos]. Archived from the original on March 25, 2003. Retrieved April 8, 2017. Google translation
  11. ^ "Οι Ολυμπιονίκες του Συλλόγου μας" [The Olympian of our Association]. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2017. Google translation
  12. ^ a b c d David E. Martin; Roger W.H. Gynn (2000). The Olympic Marathon. Human Kinetics. pp. 9–23. ISBN 9780880119696. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  13. ^ Race date:
    • Anthony Bijkerk; David C. Young (Winter 1999). "That Memorable First Marathon" (PDF). Journal of Olympic History. ISOH: 27. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 12, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
    • This date is specified as March 10 in some sources as Greece used the Julian calendar at the time. Further notes on article's talk page.
  14. ^ Richard Benyo; Joe Henderson (2002). Running Encyclopedia. Human Kinetics. p. 250. ISBN 9780736037341. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c "Δεύτερος Μαραθώνιος Ολυμπίας: Το πρόγραμμα της διοργάνωσης και η τελετή βράβευσης" [Second Marathon Olympia: The program of the event and the award ceremony]. Huffington Post. March 11, 2016. Archived from the original on April 9, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017. Google translation
  16. ^ a b c "Χαρίλαος Βασιλάκος: Ο 2ος 'άγνωστος' Ολυμπιονίκης στο Μαραθώνιο του 1896" [Charilaos Vasilakos: The second "unknown" Olympian at the 1896 Marathon]. September 6, 2014. Archived from the original on April 25, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2015. Google translation
  17. ^ "Olympia Marathon". Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  18. ^ 2011 book:

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