“One of the greatest, if not the greatest, marathoner of all time.” — ALF SHRUBB, ABOUT TOM LONGBOAT
“Obviously it was a good record when he set it,” says Coolsaet, a two time Olympian. “2:10 is still a good time but it’s not as competitive as it was in 1975. ”
Before Drayton arrived on the scene, there were several Canadians who could lay claim to being the world’s best in their particular eras. Tom Longboat, a resident of the Onondaga Six Nations Reserve in Brantford, Ont. won the Boston Marathon i n 1907 before hundreds of thousands of spectators. His rival of the day, the Briton Alf Shrubb, called him “one of the greatest, if not the greatest, marathoner of all time.” The pair battled both on the roads and in the multi-day professional indoor races at Madison Square Garden, which were immensely popular. Two decades later the aptly named Johnny Miles left his home in Sydney Mines, N.S. to take on the top Americans in Boston. He won the event twice in 1926 and 1929. Among the vanquished in his first victory was Finland’s Oskar Stenroos, the 192 4 Olympic champion.