Google Doodle honoring has a very interesting character to honor this time. We are talking about Tom Longboat, the Canadian long-distance runner, also known as “one of the greatest marathoners of all time.” His 131st birthday is what would have been.
During World War I, he turned his running talents into a contribute for the Canadians. That is why Longboat is pondered as one of the significant Canadian athletes of all time. Regarding his military background, Google Doodle took remarkable note as well.
“Tom Longboat’s legacy lives on as one of Canada’s greatest athletes. Not only is today his birthday, it is officially ‘Tom Longboat Day’ in Ontario!”
The transition of Longboat is being shown by The Google Doodle, stated like this: “seamlessly between a marathon runner and military man, just as he did during World War I!”
Now I am about to share with you some important pieces of information you need to know:
#1. Tom Longboat Was a Member of the Onondaga Nation
Google represents Longboat as a member of the Onondaga Nation. He was born in 1887 on the Six Nations Reserve. Located south of Brantford, Ontario.
As Google reports:
“He first began racing in his early teenage years, inspired by Bill Davis, another First Nations runner who finished second in the Boston Marathon in 1901.”
According to CBC, Longboat’s native name, Cogwagee, meant Everything. Quite a meaning, huh? CBC reported:
“[he] ran away from the Mohawk Institute Residential School (twice) and eventually lived with his uncle and did odd jobs.”
According to Running Magazine reportings “Longboat captured every Canadian record from the mile to the marathon at some point in his career, but endured prejudice and racism throughout his life.”
Despite running for millions he didn’t have such an easy life, and that is because he also had to go through racial taunts and was called names in the newspapers.
#2. Longboat Was the First Member of the First Nations to Win the Boston Marathon
Apr 19 1907 – Six Nations Onondaga marathon runner Tom Longboat wins the 11th Boston marathon in a record time of 2:24:24. In 1909 he wins the title of Professional Champion of the World 🌎🇨🇦❤👟 pic.twitter.com/BQDjUc5kS8
— Canada Fact Daily (@CanFact) April 20, 2018
Longboat is a hero to native people because of his historic firsts, and this in inclusion to being a Canadian great
As Google reports:
“It didn’t take long for Longboat to chase Davis’ legacy. He began racing in 1905 as an amateur and won his first Boston Marathon just two years later, in 1907, making Longboat the first member of the First Nations to win the Boston Marathon.”
According to Running Magazine Longboat was only 19-years-old when he first won the Boston Marathon by “setting a new course record by more than five minutes.”
In May 2018, Running Magazine reported, regarding the honors family still receives for Longboat’s legacy by running in marathons:
“Will Winnie, great-grandson of the legendary indigenous Canadian runner Tom Longboat, traveled from his home in the Buffalo, NY area to run the Mississauga Marathon on Sunday.”
#3. Longboat Only Lost Three Races During His Career
Get Ready to #Bike, #Run or #walk this Monday. June 4th named in his honour is #TomLongboatDay, celebrate at our Annual Tom Longboat Run. Things get underway at #SixNations Parks and Recreation with registration at 8:30am pic.twitter.com/gI4oercg3R
— Six Nations Council (@SixNationsEC) May 31, 2018
Unbeatable? Tom Longboat was almost that folks. He was undoubtedly a tough competitor. Longboat’s biographer, Dr. Bruce Kidd told CBC:
“[Longboat] was a brilliant athlete. He could run from the front and win. He could run from behind and win. He beat everybody of his generation … he set record after record after record.”
Meanwhile, according to Google reports: “during his career as an amateur racer, Longboat only lost a total of three races.”
Running away from an Anglican residential school while growing up and laboring in farm fields, was the story of his as Canada’s History reports.
It is believed, as people say, that his running shrewdness stemmed from “chasing cows in the fields and that he once ran sixty-five kilometers from Hamilton to Brantford, arriving home before his mother,” who made the same journey by wagon. Hell yeah, son!
#4. Longboat Was a Veteran of WWI Who Used His Running Skills to Deliver Messages
I’ll be at the Longboat Area Residents Association’s lane-way party on Tom Longboat Lane. Party @ 12PM. Fun fact: Tom Longboat Day is tmrw, June 4th. Officially passed as a day of observance in ’08 & celebrated on Longboat’s bday: June 4, 1887. #FreshThinkingTO #Ward21 #TOpoli pic.twitter.com/WqhWmI8zkI
— Jon Callegher (@joncallegher) June 3, 2018
For his running ability alongside for his military heroism is what Google honored. Veterans.gc.ca concurred, calling Tom Longboat “an example of the selfless response of Canadians to the chaos spreading throughout Europe.”
Due to his racing abilities, Longboat was by that time a star, as the site notes, indeed. He was earning thousands when he decided to enroll in. As the site reports:
“Though the rewards were substantially less, he did not quit racing. As a dispatch carrier with the 107th Pioneer Battalion in France, Longboat ran messages and orders between units.”
“He largely ran across France, delivering messages between military posts. This was dangerous work, and he was actually mistakenly declared dead twice during his service! Once he finished his service for the military, he retired to the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, where he lived for the remainder of his life.”
From Tom Longboat Junior Public School @TomLongboatPS #TDSB this morning on Day 2! Named after Tom Longboat- an athlete from our Indigenous Communities, a long distance runner. #MyMalvern #ScarbTO #Education in #Malvern pic.twitter.com/CYEpGvrAPS
— Neethan Shan (@NeethanShan) May 8, 2018
According to Google, Longboat didn’t stay in amateurs position for long. He turned into professional soon enough:
“Two years after winning the Boston Marathon, he went on to become a professional racer. Longboat was one of the first athletes to use a training technique involving rotating training days of hard workouts, easier workouts and recovery days. While these training methods are widely accepted today, he faced skepticism from coaches and media despite consistent victories and multiple world records.”
As claimed by Veterans.gc.ca.:
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.