Interesting Facts About Tom Longboat: “One Of The Greatest Marathoners Of All Time”

Tom Longboat was one of the most famous athletes in the western world in the early 20th century. Native American runner widely considered one of the best long-distance runners of his era. He won notable races like the 1907 Boston Marathon, which he completed in record time. He and Alberto Salazar are both winners of the Boston Marathon.
Tom Longboat, a Canadian long-distance runner known as “one of the greatest marathoners of all time,” is the subject of a Google Doodle honoring what would have been his 131st birthday.
Longboat is considered one of the greatest Canadian athletes of all time, and the Google Doodle also took special note of his military background, as he turned his running talents into an asset for the Canadians during World War I.
“Tom Longboat’s legacy lives on as one of Canada’s greatest athletes,” Google wrote. “Not only is today his birthday, it is officially ‘Tom Longboat Day’ in Ontario!” The Google Doodle was designed to show Longboat transitioning “seamlessly between marathon runner and military man, just as he did during World War I!”
He began his running career in 1905 and worked as a dispatch runner during World War I. He is a member of the Indian Hall of Fame as well as the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. He had four children with Martha Silversmith.
In this article, we are going to look at SEVEN interesting facts about Tom Longboat:
1. Longboat’s first important road race took place in 1906 when he won the “Around the Bay” marathon in Hamilton, Ontario. Winning that event made him an instant celebrity and clearly established him as one of the favorites for any long-distance race he would enter.
2. Tom Longboat won the 1907 Boston Marathon in the record time of 2:25:004, to became the world’s premier marathoner. He also won Toronto’s famous Ward’s Island Marathon from 1906 through 1908.
3. Longboat’s achievements as a marathoner, prior to World War I, brought him recognition as one of Canada’s greatest athletes. On July 17, 1985, Parks Canada unveiled a plaque at the Six Nations Sports Centre commemorating his superb career as one of the world’s premier Marathon runners.
4. He entered the Olympic marathon in London, England, in 1908 but unfortunately collapsed after twenty miles, along with several other leading runners, and a rematch was organized the same year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Longboat won this race, turned professional, and in 1909 at the same venue won the title of Professional Champion of the World in another marathon.
5. Before winning the world famous Boston Marathon in 1907, Tom Longboat was unsuccessfully challenged by Lewis Edwin Marsh at Hamilton’s popular Irish-Canadian Games. A former aid and coach of Longboat, Marsh is best remembered each year as Canada’s top male and female athletes are presented with the annual Lou Marsh Trophy.
6. In 1951, the Tom Longboat Awards were instituted by Jan Eisenhardt. This program, administered since 1999 by the Aboriginal Sport Circle, annually honors outstanding First Nations athletes and sportsmen in each province; national male and female winners are selected from the provincial winners.
Longboat was inducted into both Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (in 1955) and the Indian Hall of Fame. Longboat is also commemorated annually by the Toronto Island 10 km race. In 1976, Longboat was designated a National Historic Person.
7. In 2008, June 4 was officially declared “Tom Longboat Day” in Ontario with the passage of Bill 120, a Private Member’s Bill put forward by MPP Michael Colle.
Google’s June 4, 2018 Doodle celebrates the life and legacy of Tom Longboat, and was distributed across Canada and the United States.

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