Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

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Lives remembered

10 November 2020, 10am

Pioneering marathon statistician

Roger Gynn

by Andy Milroy

The great marathon statistician Roger Gynn died in his sleep on 8 November after a long illness.

He has left a massive legacy. His Marathon Rankings first appeared in 1969 and from then on he became a major figure in the global documenting of the event. The Historic Marathon Ranking from 1906–2017 on the ARRS website was initially based on his remarkable archives. (

In 2020 he was asked to undertake an analysis of marathon performances from 1920–1945 – an era he loved – for the iconic American athletics magazine Track and Field News. He became revitalised and excited by the project, always thorough, seeking to nail down every detail. That he had such drive, at 85 when he was unwell, spoke to his great commitment and enthusiasm.

In distance running, particularly the Marathon, Roger was a giant among statisticians. He was asked to write the Guinness Book of the Marathon. Much of the work for the two landmark publications, The Marathon Footrace and The Olympic Marathon (which he co-authored with David Martin) was done by him; he had a broad and deep knowledge of the world of sport.

A truly remarkable man, and a great enthusiast.


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