Honouring the Tom Longboat Legacy
Tom Longboat was one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in Canadian history. A member of the Onondaga Nation who resided in Six Nations of the Grand River, Tom Longboat was one of the most gifted long distance runners of his time. In just his third competitive race, he set the world record for the marathon, smashing the previous mark by over five and half minutes. In the years prior to the First World War, Tom Longboat won most of the major distance races in North America and Europe, including the Boston Marathon and the Powderhall Marathon in Edinburgh, Scotland. At a time when indoor marathon running attracted sell-out crowds, he was the world's professional champion. At one point or another, he held every Canadian record from one mile to the marathon.
Throughout his life, Tom Longboat spoke proudly of his First Nations heritage and held his head high in times of great adversity. He was the headline attraction wherever he raced, drawing huge crowds and a widespread following. In 1999, Maclean's Magazine voted him the #1 Canadian sports figure of the twentieth century.
Established in 1951, the Tom Longboat Award serves as a proud national symbol for all Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Dr. Bruce Kidd Olympian & Tom Longboat Historian