Olympic Marathon Age Records

The US Olympic marathon trials were held today and Meb Keflezighi made his fourth Olympic team. Meb won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic marathon and will be 41 years old on the day of the 2016 Olympic marathon. Much is being made about his age – how does it stack up against previous Olympic marathoners?

Meb Keflezighi

On the day of the Olympic marathon in Rio, Meb will be 41 years, 108 days old (41-108). That’s relatively ancient for a world-class marathoner, but far from unheard of. In fact, there have been 21 Olympic men run the Olympic marathon at an older age, led by Canadian Percy Wyer, who ran the 1936 marathon when he was 52-years-old. Here is the top 25 through 2012:

Age name year noc
52-199 Percy Wyer 1936 CAN
48-196 Bohumil "Boris" Honzátko 1924 TCH
46-135 Haile Satayin 2008 ISR
45-246 Toni Bernadó 2012 AND
44-195 Percy Wyer 1928 CAN
44-069 Jack Foster 1976 NZL
44-017 Wally Hayward 1952 RSA
43-023 Luis López 1992 CRC
42-240 Ion Pool 1900 GBR
42-194 Roman Kejžar 2008 SLO
42-140 Haile Satayin 2004 ISR
41-345 Wallace Williams 1988 ISV
41-258 Toni Bernadó 2008 AND
41-235 Panagiotis "Peter" Trivoulidis 1920 GRE
41-235 Eusebio Guiñez 1948 ARG
41-206 Ville Kyrönen 1932 FIN
41-206 Andrés Espinosa 2004 MEX
41-204 Harold Webster 1936 CAN
41-201 William Saward 1900 GBR
41-166 Baba Ibrahim Suma-Keita 1988 SLE
41-148 Jack Holden 1948 GBR
40-352 Cristea Dinu 1952 ROU
40-336 Johnny A. Kelley 1948 USA
40-309 Mikko Hietanen 1952 FIN
40-185 Franjo Mihalić 1960 YUG

What about among US men Olympic marathoners, you surely are asking? Meb will become the oldest American man to run the marathon at the Olympics, with the current oldest being Johnny “The Elder” Kelley at London in 1948. Meb’s 2012 London marathon already put him 6th oldest among US men. Here is the US top 10 list:

Age name year noc
40-336 Johnny A. Kelley 1948 USA
40-104 Jimmy Henigan 1932 USA
40-059 Clarence DeMar 1928 USA
38-321 Billy Churchill 1924 USA
38-235 Albert "Whitey" Michelsen 1932 USA
37-099 Meb Keflezighi 2012 USA
36-102 Jimmy Henigan 1928 USA
36-036 Clarence DeMar 1924 USA
35-241 Tom Jones 1952 USA
35-223 Abdi Abdirahman 2012 USA

This will be Meb’s third Olympic marathon, after 2004 and 2012 – he ran the 10,000 metres in 2000. Have any marathoners ever competed in more Olympic races? Yes, in fact, Andorran Toni Bernadó and Romanian Lidia Şimon ran 5 Olympic marathons from 1996-2012. Here is the list of all those running 4 or more Olympic marathons:

### name gender noc Yr1 Yr2 Yr3 Yr4 Yr5
5 Toni Bernadó M AND 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Lidia Şimon F ROU 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Karel Lismont M BEL 1972 1976 1980 1984
4 Baikuntha Manandhar M NEP 1976 1980 1984 1988
4 Rob de Castella M AUS 1980 1984 1988 1992
4 Ahmed Salah M DJI 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Lisa Martin-Ondieki F AUS 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Lorraine Moller F NZL 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Steve Moneghetti M AUS 1988 1992 1996 2000
4 Erika Olivera F CHI 1996 2000 2004 2012
4 Lee Bong-Ju M KOR 1996 2000 2004 2008
4 Pavel Loskutov M EST 1996 2000 2004 2008
4 Viktor Röthlin M SUI 2000 2004 2008 2012

Shalane Flanagan will also run in her 4th Olympics, after racing the 5K in 2004, the 5 and 10K in 2008, and the marathon in 2012. Flanagan will be 35 years old in Rio. How does that stack up against female Olympic marathoners in terms of senescence? Here are the lists for the top 25 oldest women to run the Olympic marathon and the USA top 10 list:

Age name year noc
48-234 Lourdes Klitzkie 1988 GUM
46-284 Joyce Smith 1984 GBR
46-236 Evy Palm 1988 SWE
43-083 Irina Bogacheva 2004 KGZ
42-195 Sue Hobson 2000 AUS
42-194 Constantina Tomescu 2012 ROU
41-141 María Luisa Muñoz 2000 ESP
41-058 Lorraine Moller 1996 NZL
40-298 Garifa Kuku 2000 KAZ
40-297 Ivana Sekyrová 2012 CZE
40-130 Colleen de Reuck 2004 USA
39-347 Irina Mikitenko 2012 GER
39-299 María Elena Espeso 2012 ESP
39-256 Priscilla Welch 1984 GBR
39-251 Francie Larrieu-Smith 1992 USA
39-159 Pauline Curley 2008 IRL
39-157 Rhonda Davidson-Alley 2000 GUM
39-116 Irina Bogacheva 2000 KGZ
39-077 Gaby Andersen-Schiess 1984 SUI
39-052 Liza Hunter-Galvan 2008 NZL
38-357 Mara Yamauchi 2012 GBR
38-335 Lidia Şimon 2012 ROU
38-251 Magda Ilands 1988 BEL
38-232 Nelly Chávez 1984 BOL
38-206 Constantina Tomescu 2008 ROU
Age name year noc
40-130 Colleen de Reuck 2004 USA
39-251 Francie Larrieu-Smith 1992 USA
37-349 Chris Clark 2000 USA
35-183 Deena Drossin-Kastor 2008 USA
35-082 Linda Somers 1996 USA
35-015 Magda Lewy-Boulet 2008 USA
34-091 Nancy Ditz 1988 USA
34-027 Kara Goucher 2012 USA
33-024 Blake Russell 2008 USA
33-009 Jenny Spangler 1996 USA

Colleen de Reuck

Flanagan’s 2012 Olympic marathon was done at age 31-028, putting her 13th on the US list for oldest female Olympic marathoners through 2012. She will be 35-037 on the day of the women’s Rio marathon and will move up to 6th among US Olympic marathoners, but she will not crack the top 25 for all nations.

 

One thought on “Olympic Marathon Age Records”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *