Posted by: Joe English | June 1, 2008

Queen Elizabeth honors 1908 London Olympics; centenary of “classic marathon distance”

LONDON, UK – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II hosted a reception last night (30) in Windsor Castle to mark the centenary of the 1908 London Olympic Games when the classic marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards was used for the first time to allow the Royal family to watch the start of the race from the window of the nursery in Windsor Castle.

The 1908 Olympic Marathon was famous for incident surrounding Italian Dorando Pietri who had led for most of the race but who collapsed after entering the stadium in first place, and after being assisted across the finish by officials was later disqualified. Pietri was subsequently awarded a special cup by Queen Alexandra in recognition of his brave effort.

Both that Cup, and the original gold medal that was awarded to Johnny Hayes of USA, who took the Olympic title after Pietri’s disqualification were on display in Windsor’s Guildhall, where London Marathon race director David Bedford, the former World 10,000m record holder, hosted a cocktail attended by around 70 guests from the athletics family including IAAF President Lamine Diack.

President Diack later joined British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, IOC President Jacques Rogge, ASOIF President Denis Oswald, IAAF Vice President Sebastian Coe at a reception in Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Olympic gold medal winners were among guests at the black tie reception, including Athens 800 and 1500m winner Dame Kelly Holmes, Lord Coe and rower Sir Matthew Pinsent.

The 1908 Olympics were due to be held in Rome, but London stepped in when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906. The volcano devastated the nearby city of Naples and Rome withdrew from the games.

Following the reception on Friday evening the Queen and Duke left the Princess Royal – the BOA’s president – to host a dinner for close to 200 guests, including representatives from every National Olympic Committee that attended the 1908 Olympic Games.

From the IAAF
Running Advice and News



  1. […] read on british media that on 31st May 2008, the Queen of Britain,Her Majesty Queen Elezabeth II hosted a reception to celebrate centenary of 1908 London Summer […]

  2. The Royal family added colour to history of the marathon. God the save the Queen.

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