Sidney Hatch

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Olympic rings
Sidney Hatch in the 1911 Chicago Marathon
silver 1904 4 mile team run

Sidney Hatch ( Sidney Herbert Hatch ; born August 18, 1883 in River Forest , Illinois , † October 17, 1966 in Maywood , Illinois) was an American long-distance runner who was successful in the early 20th century.


Hatch was a member of the Illinois Athletic Club in Chicago and was known as a talented runner. For the Olympic Games in St. Louis in 1904 there were no elimination competitions in the USA, the athletes were predominantly proposed by the most well-known sports clubs and universities. Hatch was also one of the selected participants.

The first competition for Hatch at the Games was the marathon, which was characterized by extremely difficult external circumstances. But the unqualified and sometimes even inadmissible assistance that some runners received also had a significant impact on the run. With eighth place, Hatch achieved a respectable result under these conditions.

Four days after the marathon, there was a four-mile team run , which was actually a city battle between runners from Chicago and New York . The Chicago runners have been announced as a team for the Chicago Athletic Association . A run was held in which ten runners (five for each team) took part. The team evaluation was based on the number of places (1st place = 1 point; 2nd place = 2 points etc.). Hatch was only supposed to complete the team, otherwise no suitable runners from the Chicago Athletic Association were available. In fact, Hatch only finished tenth and last in the race. His team lost the rating against the team of the New York Athletic Club, but despite the defeat they took second place statistically, because other teams were not at the start.

In the USA, a keen interest in long-distance runs developed after the games. In 1905 the Illinois Athletic Club in Chicago organized its own marathon over 25 miles, which was to be held annually and was intended to compete with the Boston Marathon . Hatch, a member of the club, took part in the running of his club for several years, but could never win it.

Hatch had more success in another run, also launched in 1905, the All Western Marathon of the Missouri Athletic Club in the Olympic city of St. Louis. If he was second at the premiere, he was able to win the race from 1906 to 1908, as well as in 1911, 1914 and 1915. The 1908 run was an elimination run for participation in the 1908 London Olympics , and with his victory, Hatch had the ticket in his pocket.

The run at the 1908 Games was just as unsuccessful for Hatch as that of 1904. At no time did he play an important role and finally crossed the finish line in 14th place.

Placements at the Olympic Games:

  • III. 1904 Olympic Games, St. Louis
    • 4 Mile Team - Silver with Mixed Team Chicago Athletic Association (Gold to New York Athletic Club, USA)
    • Marathon - eighth place without timekeeping (gold to Thomas Hicks from the USA with 3:28:53 h)
  • IV. Olympic Games 1908, London
    • Marathon - 14th place with 3:17:53 h (gold to John Hayes from the USA with 2: 55: 18.4 h)

Hatch was not impressed by the unsuccessful Olympic marathon, he continued to participate in numerous runs. In 1911, in addition to the All-Western Marathon, he also won the Yonkers Marathon . In 1912 the All-Western Marathon was again elimination run for participation in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm . Hatch, who had already won the run four times, was only third in 1912 and thus missed the direct qualification. Shortly before the games, Hatch was told that he could still be accepted into the team for Stockholm, but that he should have financed the trip out of his own pocket. However, this was not possible for him.

Hatch also took part in the Boston Marathon several times, finishing third in 1915 and 1916, second in 1917 and placing in the top 10. By 1922 he participated in a total of 45 marathons, all of which he finished and achieved further notable successes.

Sidney Hatch served in the US Army in 1918

In 1916, Hatch proved that he had enormous capabilities even over longer distances. He completed the long-distance run between Milwaukee and Chicago over a distance of 95.7 miles (153.2 km) in a record time of 14:50:30 hours and thus improved the old record set by his former teammate in 1907 in the team run at the Summer Olympics 1904, Albert Corey .

During World War I , Hatch served as a courier in the US Army and was stationed in France in 1918 . Although he was injured by a shell in the battle near the town of Brieulles-sur-Meuse , he made a long journey from his position to the headquarters, delivered an important message there and helped transport ammunition on the way back. Only then was his injury noticed and he was taken to the medical service. For this achievement he received the Distinguished Service Cross and was awarded the Purple Heart and the French Croix de guerre .

Sidney Hatch married Gertrude Morris in 1921, with whom he had three children. In 1923, Hatch began working as a postman in his hometown of River Forest. It was not until 1953, at the age of 70, that he left the postal service. Hatch died at the age of 83.

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