Today’s (June 4) Google Doodle celebrates the 131st birthday of Tom Longboat, the Canadian long-distance runner who has been acknowledged as one of the greatest marathoners of all time. A member of the Onondaga Nation, he was born in 1887 on Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario. He cited Bill Davis as his inspiration to start running, another First Nations marathoner who came in second in the Boston Marathon in 1901.
Longboat began racing in 1905 as a rookie and won his first Boston Marathon two years later. He was the first member of First Nations to win the Boston Marathon. Longboat was also credited as one of the first athletes to incorporate rest days into a workout plan.
Longboat also took his running talents into the army, where he served for Canada as a dispatch runner in World War I. He would run throughout France, delivering messages between their militaries. He retired to Six Nations Reserve and died of pneumonia in 1949.