My uncle ran the Boston Marathon several times and I always admired him for running marathons. I remember when I was little I would go to his house and look at his medals and I thought he was the coolest guy ever..well after my dad of course. My dad is not a runner but he does speak 5 languages, that is pretty cool. OK back to Boston. So I was always interested in the Boston Marathon and the Montreal Marathon as well.
Canada is known for knowing a thing or 2 about hockey (remember the last Olympic Games in Vancouver? 2 GOLD MEDALS) but running is not the first sport that comes to mind when thinking about famous Canadian athletes, same thing for Québec where I am from.
We have these 2 Canadian runners that are well known, one for being a disgrace to our Country and the other for being really fast, they have the Canadian nationality but they were both born in Jamaica.
Ben Johnson who was disqualified in the 1988 Olympic Games for doping.
Donovan Bailey, who once held the world record for the 100 metres race and won the gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games.
From Quebec we have Jacqueline Gareau.
If you do some research about the Boston Marathon you are sure to see her name. She won the 1980 Boston Marathon. This was the year of the scandal at the marathon. Remember Rosie Ruiz?
Many of you are probably way too young (some of you did not even know who Bryan Adams is!!!) to know this story. I remember it well because in Quebec this made the headlines. Jacqueline Gareau had led the women's field for most of the race, only to find another runner, Rosie Ruiz, wearing the traditional victor's laurels when she crossed the finish line. Ruiz had cheated. She did not run the whole course. Her post race interviews made no sense and people got suspicious. Several spotters at checkpoints throughout the course didn't remember seeing her in the first group of women. She also didn't appear in any pictures or video footage. Also two Harvard students, recalled seeing Ruiz coming out of a crowd of spectators on Commonwealth Avenue, half a mile from the finish!
Ruiz was later disqualified and Gareau was awarded the victory in a special ceremony one week later. Her official time for the 1980 marathon, 2:34:28, was recognized as a course record. Here she is with the men's winner, Bill Rodgers.
25 years later. Gareau served as the Grand Marshal of the 2005 Boston Marathon and was allowed to break the tape in a special ceremony.
Here are the highlights of her impressive carreer:
-Winner of nine marathons including : Montréal 1979 (2h40:56) and 1987 (2h32:50) Boston 1980 (2h34 : 28), Los Angeles 1984 (2h31:57)
-Fifth at the World Championship in 1983 (2h32:35)
-Canadian marathon record holder between 1979-1984 (2h29:27)
-1984 Member of the canadian olympic team in Los Angeles
-1991 Inducted to the canadian runners hall of fame
-1995 Inducted to the Québec Sports Hall of Fame
-2000 Was named Canadian Marathoner of the 20th century
Here she is with another GREAT marathoner: