Thomas Charles Longboat (1887 - 1949) Born in 1887 on the Six Nations reserve in Ontario, Longboat was a member of the Onondaga Nation. His indigenous name was Cogwagee, meaning “Everything.” As a child, Longboat lived in one of Canada’s Residential Schools. He ran away twice before moving in with his uncle and starting to train as an athlete while working various odd jobs.
Longboat pioneered a training technique that alternates days of intense workouts with days of lower-stress exercise and rest. While it’s since been widely adopted by athletes, it was highly unusual in Longboat’s day.
He entered the 1907 Boston Marathon—at the time the most prestigious of all road races—as the odds-on favourite. In front of 100,000 spectators, Longboat defeated 123 other runners and smashed the previous marathon record by almost 5 minutes, running the final 1.6 kilometres uphill, into a snow squall, in four minutes, forty-seconds. As a professional, he ruled the match-race circuit. His Madison Square Gardens showdown with British champion Alfie Shrubb in 1909 was the greatest marathon of the century with Longboat pulling ahead to victory in the final mile of the race.
He raced successfully during WWI while serving as a dispatch runner in France. He was wounded twice during his time of service. Once he was declared dead, but he survived the war and returned to Canada in 1919. Tom Longboat died in 1949 at the age of 62. He is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Indian Hall of Fame.
Appearances and Mentions
- Taking up the sport of running, Detective Watts doesn't know he is training with Tom Longboat.
- When Watts returns to the sport of running, he finally introduces himself to Thomas Longboat with a handshake, then they run.
- In June 2018, Google Doodle celebrates Tom Longboat, a Canadian long distance runner who became the first member of a First Nations community to win the Boston Marathon.
- History of Tom Longboat on CBC .