article by Nicola Pucci

At the 1924 Paris Olympics the marathon distance was finally officially and definitively codified as 42.195 kilometerscovered only for the 1908 London Games.

The Parisian summer has the contours of the exceptional, due to the fiery temperatures, like this it was decided, on 13 July, to postpone the start of the race to 5.25pmgiven that the previous day only 15 athletes reached the finish line of the cross country event and many of the competitors had to resort to hospital care for injuries caused by the suffocating heat.

58 marathon runners line up at the start, including 6 Italians (maximum number, which from 1932 will become three per country) but the favorites are others. Between these the Finn Hannes Kolehmainen, who won four years earlier in Antwerp, his compatriots Albin Stenroos and Ville Kyronenwho beat Hannes in the Finnish selections, the British Duncan Wright, the American Clarence DeMarwinner of the Boston Marathon seven times in his career, l’estone Juri Lossmanwho defends the silver won in Belgium, and two athletes, the Frenchman of North African origin El Ouafi and the Chilean Manuel Plazawhich will dominate the next edition in Amsterdam in 1928.

It goes from the stadium to the town of Pontoise and backcrossing the forest of St.Germaine Greek Alexandros Kranis is the first daredevil to try the lunge. However, Hellenic cannot keep up with the frenetic pace, taken over first by the Canadian Cuthbert, then by DeMar himself, then by the Frenchman Georges Verger, but it is the Finnish Stenroos who leaves his mark on the race.

Nato a Vehmaa, in Finlandia, 1889, Stenroos had already been a protagonist at the 1912 Stockholm Games, when he won two medals, silver in the team cross closing with his teammates behind the hosts Sweden, and bronze in the 10,000 metersanticipated by the great Hannes Kolehmainen and the American of origins Hopi, Lewis Tewanima. Stopped by the first war and absent at the resumption of the Games in Antwerp 1920, Stenroos, now 35 years old, returned to Paris in 1924, with the ambition of breaking the bank in the most prestigious race of the athletics program at the Olympics.

The Finnish, in fact, he takes the lead shortly after 20 kilometers and progressively increases his lead over his pursuers, which alternate between attempts to catch up and sudden crises. Own DeMar, in an attempt to keep up with Stenroos, pays for the gamble and in the final part of the race he is reached and overtaken by the Italian Romeo Bertini, author of a tactically impeccable performance, who comes from behind and goes on to collect a splendid silver medalalbeit six minutes behind Stenroos who made a triumphant entry into the match Colombes Olympic Stadiumfinishing with a time of 2h41’22”.

Per Albin it is the five-circle apotheosis, just as the place of honor of Bertini, keeper at the Milan zoo, is magnificent, and in any case the third place of DeMar is to be applauded, who has the physical prerogative of running with coronary arteries much larger than normal. When they say, the chimera of an Olympic medal

2024-05-24 12:23:00


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