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[Solved by 147 players]

The athletic event called the marathon derives from a historical event when Pheidippides, a Greek messenger and soldier at the Battle of Marathon in 490BC, ran the entire distance to Athens to announce the news that the Persians had been defeated. After giving the news he promptly dropped down dead, presumably from the effort, hardly a surprise. As with so many of these legends, there does seem debate as to the specific accuracy of the details, but it seems generally accepted that this is the origin of the marathon.

Despite the exertions a lot of people run marathons, figures show that in 2009 it was estimated that 467,000 runners completed a marathon run in the USA alone.

The modern marathon is run over 26 miles 385 yards. This figure was established for the London 1908 Olympic Games, and based mainly as that distance would enable the marathon to start at Windsor Castle, and to finish in front of the Royal box inside the Olympic stadium. Well, after that brief history and scene-setting introduction, onto the puzzle itself:-

A marathon race is run. There are 200 entrants and 192 complete the course. Drake, Magellan, Columbus and Cook all finish in the top 10 places. Chaucer, Kipling, Dickens and Poe also all finish in the top 10. Someone whose name starts with the letter 'C' finished second. 3 of the top 10 finishers are female. Hydrogen, Lithium, Carbon, Neon and Phosphorus are all in the Top 20. A female is in third place. Barnard's Star, Betelgeuse, Andromeda and Crab Nebula all complete the race in the top 20. Einstein, Newton, Fermi and Faraday are all out of the places. Half the runners have surnames starting with the letter 'S' but none of them finish in the Top 10. Carbon finishes ahead of Chaucer, and Betelgeuse and Barnard's Star are further ahead of them. Who was first?