Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A French Canadian Boston Marathon Story

So all this time I made you believe that I am a turtle and I don't run full marathons and the truth is I BQ'd last year and I am running Boston this year just that.

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:


Michael said...

Cool post! She ran a faster marathon than I can run a half marathon. That is just crazy!!

XLMIC said...

I remember the Rosie Ruiz scandal! But I had forgotten who won :(

Thanks for this bit of Canadian marathoner trivia... very, very interesting!

RoseRunner said...

I'm a bad runner; I know very little about pros or those who paved the way. I also don't care much about Boston, despite qualifying for it every marathon I run.

But thats ok, right? Running is personal. At least I DO care about other bloggers...those runners fascinate me most of all

runnergirl training said...

Thanks for sharing! I knew some of this from reading over the years. Thanks again!!

middleagedrunner said...

this was a great post! I don't know much about Canadian running so I thought this was quite educational and interesting.

Evolving Through Running said...

I definitely remember, and have read a lot about, the Ruiz story, but sadly have never heard of Jacqueline Gareau. Admittedly I'm not really plugged into the history of running, but it's pretty sad that the cheater is so well known, and little is said about the champion. Thanks for the information.

I definitely remember Ben Johnson and the doping scandal. The guy had muscles popping out of muscles, and yellow eyeballs. Not too hard to figure out there might be some 'roids involved.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

You forgot Terry Fox, thats who I think of when I think of Canadian runners

Caroline said...

BDD you are right about Terry Fox...for me he is in the HERO category not runner.

Nelly said...

I'm with Big Daddy Diesel - I saw a documentary on ESPN about Terry Fox (30 for 30 series), a very moving story.

I remember watching Ben Johnson, he was just insanely fast - he was in a whole another league than the rest of the runners on the track. I still remember that in the 100 meter final he got 9.79 and blew away the world record by .09, which was a huge margin. No surprise that he was on roids, the guy was a physical specimen.

Also remember Donovan Bailey, he was a great runner, but again I think he was also doping it seemed like.

But basically it seemed like every great sprinter over the last 15 years has been implicated in doping, I can't think of a top runner who hasn't. If Usain Bolt is implicated in doping, then I lose all faith all together.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Thanks for posting this Caroline! I have been looking forward to learning about the story and you did a fab job of breaking it down!

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

I remember who Rosie Ruiz is. She did the same thing in the New York City Marathon as well, which was her qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

Jenn said...

I loved this post! So cool! It IS crazy how your remember the scandal but forget the winner!

Hope you have a great weekend:)

Chris K said...

The Canadian got so screwed by that Rosie Ruiz. What a shame. Luckily Canadians are tough and don't let a little thing like that let them down. Allez La Canada!