APRIL 19, 1907


Born on June 4, 1887, Longboat was one of thousands of indigenous children forced into Canada’s residential school system.  Refusing to speak English or adopt Christianity, Tom ran away.   He began running competitively as a teen winning races in Ontario.  At age 20, Longboat not only became the first First Nations runner to win the Boston Marathon, he shaved five minutes off the previous best time.  He was greeted by thousands and given keys to the city upon his triumphant return to Toronto.  Longboat only lost three races in his running career and was one of the most celebrated athletes of the pre-World War One era.  In 1916, he voluntarily joined the Canadian forces serving in Europe during the war.  Stationed in France, Longboat ran messages and orders between units – and continued to race and win in inter-battalion running contests.  He was wounded twice during the war.  Tom was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955.   Longboat died January 9, 1949 on the Six Nations Reserve. 

Source:  “Tom Longboat: Google doodle honours Canadian marathon runner,” BBC News, 6/4/2018.  Retrieved 6/27/2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44360826
Photo:  Charles Aylett, 1907.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less. 

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