In the space of 24 hours in July 1908, two of the most dramatic events in sporting history came to a climax at the first London Olympic Games. The 2013 London Marathon will mark the 105th time the race has been run at a distance of 26 miles 385 yards, a standard that is now accepted worldwide. But in 1908, the destinies of three remarkable men collided in a thrilling battle that overshadowed not only the race, but the Games themselves. An aristocratic British soldier who believed fair play was more important than winning, an American orphan driven to escape crushing poverty and an Italian who valued fame more highly than victory met that day in a series of events that have defined sport ever since, when Dorando Pietri staggered into the stadium, turned the wrong way, and fell five times before being practically carried across the finish line. The ensuing row couldn't have been further from the image of genteel Edwardian London or the spirit of sportsmanship espoused by the Olympic movement, and when Scottish sprinter Wyndham Halswelle and American Johnny Hayes were dragged into the dispute, a fierce war between the United States and the British Empire spilled over into politics and ethics with allegations of drug-taking and unprofessionalism.