Tom Longboat was an Onondaga long-distance runner whose name, Gagwe:gih, meant “Everything.” Running away from the Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ontario in 1900, he continued running his whole life. Despite the racism he faced as an Indigenous athlete, Tom won many races, including his record-breaking win at the 1907 Boston Marathon, making him a household name. As the story goes, while serving as a Dispatch Carrier during the First World War, an Officer he was escorting struggled to keep up and complained, “Who do you think I am? Tom Longboat?”—Tom replied, “No, Sir… I am” and continued to run. Tom Longboat was one of the most celebrated athletes of the early 20th century and has inspired generations of athletes.
For more information on Tom Longboat, Visit The Canadian Encyclopedia.