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The Marathon Makers

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The Marathon Makers

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    Available in PDF Format | The Marathon Makers.pdf | English
    John Bryant(Author)
**With a foreword by Sebastian Coe **At the 1908 Summer Olympics, one of the contenders in the marathon was the diminutive Italian Dorando Pietri. After leading the pack at a grueling pace, Pietri staggered into the stadium, turned the wrong direction, and fell five times, after which two officials took him by the arms and brought him across the finish line. The American team lodged a complaint, and as a consequence, Pietri was disqualified and his first place medal went to the American Johnny Hayes. But the glory went to Pietri, who eventually became an international celebrity and received a silvered cup from Queen Alexandria for his efforts. After the race, Hayes and a Scottish sprinter, Wyndham Halswelle, were dragged into a dispute surrounding the race's official outcome, and a fierce war over sporting superiority between the United States and the British Empire resulted. The battle rapidly spilled over into politics and ethics, with allegations of cheating, drug-taking, and unprofessionalism levied by both nations. Bestselling author John Bryant delves into the lives of these three extraordinary men in a tale that stretches from rural Italy to Ellis Island, Broadway and beyond and explores the foundations of the modern sporting and marathon movements.

John Bryantis a journalist and has served as the editor-in-chief of the "Daily" and "Sunday Telegraph." He was a long-time captain of the world's oldest cross-country club, the Thames Hare and Hounds, and is the author of "3:59.4 "and "The London Marathon." Sebastian Coe is the chief of the 2012 London Olympics.

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Book details

  • PDF | 288 pages
  • John Bryant(Author)
  • John Blake Publishing Ltd; First Edition, First Printing edition (3 Mar. 2008)
  • English
  • 2
  • Biography

Review Text

  • By The Sports Book Review on 14 February 2014

    The marathon is an iconic distance. Every year several million tough souls hit the tarmac and try to grab their own slice of personal glory on the roads of big cities, national parks, hot deserts, or mountain trails. For most, it is a personal race. For the elite few, glory awaits.It was ever thus in every sporting contest. In the pioneering days of Olympic sport however, the marathon competitors were not as finely honed as the machines we see competing today. They were phenomenal athletes of course, that could never be denied, but there was a sense of the haphazard about it when looking back with the benefit of twenty-first century hindsight.The most infamous Olympic Marathon story of all is without doubt the race that took place in London in 1908. The famous photograph of Italian Dorando Pietri stumbling and staggering towards the finish line, a handkerchief on his head, and a collection of well-intentioned officials surrounding him, is one of the most dramatic Olympic images ever taken.This wonderful book tells the tale of that 1908 Olympic Marathon by looking at the contrasting lives and fortunes of its main protagonists; Dorando Pietri and the American Johnny Hayes, who finished second but ended up the gold medal winner.It makes for a fascinating read, as Bryant brings the distant past to life with great detail about the lives of the two men, and also the Scottish sprinter Wyndham Halswelle who ended up in another argument with officialdom in those 1908 games.Bryant intertwines the developing back story of both main men so that we get to know them both gradually in the build up to the big day. But he also looks at what happened afterwards – not just the immediate aftermath, but the course their lives took in the years to come.This isn’t just a book for runners or those seeking marathon inspiration. As a record of a significant incident, and indeed period, in sporting history this book gives an insight into the developing Olympic Games; a concept that was only a few years old at this point and was seeking to establish its position in the world. The arguments that developed, the precedents set and the drama that unfolded all helped to shape the Olympic Games going forward. Expertly told and a real education.

  • By Vincenzo on 24 September 2009

    A fascinating look at the lives of the 3 men (Dorando, Hayes & Halswelle) who ran in the legendary 1908 White City marathon. Extremely detailed and superbly researched with some excellent & rare photographs. An essential purchase for sports fans.The 'hoax Dorando' (aka Pietro Palleschi) was my grandfather.

  • By Bardos Robert on 22 August 2010

    I like the way as John Bryant reproduced the history to a vivid book. The characters are changing between the short chapters and the reader get to know more and more about the main heroes, the marathon makers. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to visit the last century.

  • By West Australian on 5 October 2008

    Readers inspired by 'Chariots of Fire' will enjoy this well constructed story of athletes at the 1908 London Olympic Games. John Bryant's well researched story evocatively captures the birth of the modern Olympics, the major international events that were shaping the new century and the lives of the athletes who would influence sport for the next decades. Told with a cinematic structure, the story is skillfully told bringing history alive with a colourful vibrancy. This is recommended for readers with a love of sport and especially with an interest in the Olympics both past and future.

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