Umberto Blasi

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Umberto Blasi (October 12, 1886 – July 1, 1938)[1][nb 1] was an Italian long-distance runner who was a three-time national champion in the marathon and competed in the men's marathon at the 1908 Summer Olympics.


On June 3, 1908, Blasi won Italy's first national marathon championship in Rome in a time of 3:01:04.[3][4] Given that the race also served as the nation's Olympic trial for that year's Games, he earned a spot on the Italian Olympic team with Augusto Cocca and Dorando Pietri.[4] The following month in London, Blasi was one of 56 who lined-up to start the marathon on a warm and muggy afternoon.[5] He dropped out after 8 miles and did not finish. Blasi later won his second consecutive national championship with a 2:38:30 on a 40 kilometer course in Milan on September 19, 1909.[3] One week later on an official distance course in Voltri, Italy, his 2:48:44 mark lowered the Italian marathon record set three months earlier by Arturo deMaria.[6]

On April 2, 1910, Blasi was one of ten professional competitors in a marathon with 16,000 spectators at the Polo Grounds in New York City.[7] Dropping out after 18 miles, he was reportedly "carried to his dressing room".[7][8] Supporters of Blasi and another Italian runner, Fortunio Zantis, forced an early end to another marathon in Rocky Point, Rhode Island, on July 10, 1910, by crowding the track and attempting to trip the leader, Patrick Dineen of Boston.[9] Dinnen, who completed 21 laps, was declared the winner while Blasi finished in fifth.[9] Three weeks later at the Rocky Point baseball grounds, 3,500 spectators witnessed Blasi compete with five other runners in a 20-mile race that was subsequently believed to have been "considerably less than 18 miles".[10] He was reported to have led Zantis at the half-mile post by 45 yards and crossed the mile mark first in 4:36 before fading to a fourth-place finish.[10]

Blasi eventually ran his marathon personal best with a 2:38:00.8 performance to capture his third and final national title in Legnano, Italy on November 29, 1914.[11] Although not recognized as a world best by the International Association of Athletics Federations,[12] the Association of Road Racing Statisticians lists this mark in their progression of world records in the marathon[13] as well as the world's fastest for 1914.[11][14]

Blasi was born in Rome, Italy.[2]


  1. ^ notes date of death at July 11, 1938.[2]


  1. ^ Mallon, Bill; Buchanan, Ian (2000). The 1908 Olympic Games: Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. McFarland & Co. p. 463. ISBN 9780786405985. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Umberto Blasi". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "National Marathon Champions for Italy". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. September 2, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Martin, David E.; Gynn, Roger W.H. (2000). "1908-London: Pietra Steals the Show as Hayes Captures the Gold". The Olympic Marathon. Human Kinetics Publishers. pp. 66, 70. ISBN 9780880119696. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ Cook, Theodore Andrea (May 1909). The Fourth Olympiad London 1908 Official Report (pdf). London: British Olympic Association. pp. 74–75. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ Malcolm Heyworth; Andy Milroy (December 15, 2010). "ITA Record Progressions- Road". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Marathon Derby Is Won By Swede: Gustave Ljungstrom Distances Competitors, Lowering Record" (pdf). Los Angeles Herald. Los Angeles. AP. April 3, 1910. p. 3 (Part III). Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Swede First In Marathon Race: Ljungstrom Beats Classic Field Of Entries At New York". The Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, Iowa. April 3, 1910. p. 1. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Marathon Races Ended In A Row". The Meridian Morning Record. July 11, 1910. p. 9. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Ted Crooks Won Near-Marathon: Rocky Point Race Proved Uninteresting - Two Runners Missing". The Day. New London, Connecticut. August 1, 1910. p. 10. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Gynn, Roger; Malcolm Heyworth, Andy Milroy, Mikko Nieminen, Aarand Roos (August 5, 2011). "World Marathon Rankings for 1914". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009" (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2009. pp. 546, 563, and 565. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ Hill, Ian; Andy Millroy (September 2, 2011). "World Best Progressions- Road". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ Rabinovich, Michael; Malcolm Heyworth, Andy Milroy (August 5, 2011). "Yearly Rankings- Marathon". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 

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