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Top 5 Best Male Marathon Runners

by / Tuesday, 04 November 2014 / Published in Top 10
top 5 best male marathon runners

Top 5 Best Male Marathon Runners

top 5 best male marathon runnersIt would be easy to compile a list of the greatest ever male marathon runners by taking a look at the fastest times, and plugging them into a list with a few personal anecdotes added on. My goal in coming up with a list wasn’t to find the fastest runners, but those that were most influential in taking the marathon from its humble origins with Philippedies famous run to the global spectacle that it is today. The following men ARE the marathon, in many ways. In no particular order, your top-5 male marathoners:

Toshihiko Seko

Seko was famous, not just for his success in major marathons, but his crazy training methods that pushed the limits of what people thought was beneficial, or even simply possible. He was noted for his incredibly high mileage – close to 200 miles per week at times. He would regularly do long runs of over 100 kms around a 1325 m asphalt loop and was famously quoted as saying “The marathon is my only girlfriend. I give her everything I have.” His methods worked – he won the Fukuoka Marathon (the defacto World Championships at the time) 4 times, in addition to wins at Boston, London and Chicago.

Frank Shorter

Shorter was one of the classic, old-school runners of the 70s, and one of the most successful American marathoners. He won Fukuoka 4 times, but his most famous victory was in the 1972 Olympic Marathon. This performance is generally regarded as one of the main factors behind the distance running boom in North America in the 1970s that brought about the explosion in road race participation numbers across the continent. Before the boom, road races would attract a few hundred competitors, now tens of thousands are commonplace. Shorter also placed second in the 1976 Olympic Marathon behind suspected drug cheat Waldemar Cierpinski.

Haile Gebreselassie

One of the greatest distance runners of all time on the track, Geb turned his talents to the marathon later in life with predictable results. In 2002, he was part of an incredible three-way battle between himself, Paul Tergat (his long-time nemesis) and Khalid Khannouchi (the current world record holder) in his debut marathon in London. He lead for much of the race before fading at the end, but his pace pushed Khalid to a new world record. He set the marathon world record twice in Berlin, lowering the mark a total of almost a minute from Tergat’s previous best. His time-trial approach to the marathon pushed the boundaries of what was thought to be possible, and dared others to copy his fast starts.

Sammy Wanjiru

Sammy was the first of the new breed of marathoners currently dominating the sport at the elite levels. He focused on the marathon at a very early age, in contrast to the conventional path of racing on the track first then switching to the marathon later. He was somewhat brash and headstrong, but was an incredible racer. His win in the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing was one of the all-time best marathon performances ever – on a hot and humid day, Wanjiru attacked the elite field and set a blistering early pace. Everyone thought he couldn’t last, but he kept it up all the way to the line and set a new Olympic Record of 2:06:32. Under ideal conditions, many experts think 3-4 minutes faster would not be unreasonable. Tragically, he died at the young age of 24 after falling from a balcony, leave many to wonder what could have been.

Abebe Bikila

Bikila was one of the first African runners to grace the world stage, and he did it in spectacular fashion – running barefoot through the cobbled streets of Rome to win the 1960 Olympic Marathon. For good measure, he followed it up by winning the marathon in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo as well, becoming the first athlete to win the Olympic Marathon twice. His determination and love of running were contagious, and he helped to push African distance running into the limelight.

Here is a list of the top 5 best women marathon runners!

Who else do you think should be added to the list of best male marathon runners?

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