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Topics in Chronicling America - The Boston Marathon and the Nationwide Marathon Craze

Running through dust, rain, snow and mud, Thomas Longboat pulls ahead of his competitors, easily winning the Boston Marathon in April, 1907, and smashing the current record by more than five minutes despite the terrible weather conditions. In the next few years the marathon craze would move outside of Boston to sweep across the country with races run "in nearly every big city," turning the ancient Greek tradition into an American phenomenon. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • April 1897: J.J. McDermott is the winner of the first Boston Marathon, held on Patriots’ Day.
  • April 1898: Ronald J. McDonald is the winner of the second Boston Marathon.
  • April 1907: Thomas Longboat is the first Native American to win the Boston Marathon.
  • 1908-1909: Success of the Boston Marathon sparks a nationwide interest in marathon running. .

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Boston foot race, Marathon run, American marathon, foot race, road race.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  January 22, 2013
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