Longboat, Thomas Charles

Thomas Charles Longboat, distance runner (b at Ohsweken [Six Nations IR], Ont 4 July 1887; d there 9 Jan 1949). Largely because of his ability to dominate any race and his spectacular finishing sprints, Longboat was one of the most celebrated pre-WWI athletes. He won the Hamilton "Around-the-Bay" (1906), the Boston Marathon (1907), the Toronto Ward's Marathon (1906-08), the "World's Professional Marathon Championship" (1909), and broke numerous records. He was one of the most sought-after performers in the brief (1908-12) revival of professional racing that followed the controversial 1908 London Olympics marathon, in which Longboat and Dorando Pietri collapsed.

Longboat's desire to train himself led to several well-publicized conflicts with managers. Despite constant and sometimes racist criticism, he stuck to his own methods. He bought up his contract in 1911 and ran better than ever. In 1912, he set a professional record of 1:18:10 for 15 miles, 7 mins faster than his amateur record. Longboat raced successfully during WWI while serving as a dispatch runner in France. After the war he lived and worked in Toronto until 1944, when he retired to the Six Nations Reserve.