CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

David Blaikie

Ottawa, Seneca House Books, c1984.
Distributed by Seneca House Books, 36 Seneca St., Ottawa, ON,KIS 4X1 222pp, paper, $11.95.
ISBN 0-920598-04-S.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by Ron Jaques.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

The Boston Marathon, run on the third Monday of April every year, dates back to 1897 and has a special place in the history of running. In an age when millions of people are out running in the streets and parks, it is refreshing to return to the "good oP days" when running was not a career but something one did after a day's work if one was good at it. There is a seeming purity to the sport, as if the men were just "doing what came naturally." In reality, the same concerns of today's marathoners can be seen in the various stories: amateurism, training techniques, backroom and under-the-table deals, press adulation and vilification.

David Blaikie has performed a very valuable service in writing this book, for it provides a fascinating look at the significant role Canadian runners have played in the history of the Boston Marathon. While many of us are familiar with recent Canadian winners such as Jacqueline Gareau (1980) and Jerome Dray-ton (1977), and probably with Tom Longboat (1907), it is quite a revelation to read the stories of runners like Gerard Cote from Valleyfield, Quebec who won the race in 1940, 1943, 1944, and 1948 or Jack Caffery of Hamilton who won in 1900 and 1901.

Blaikie's research and writing give the reader a good feel for the times in which the various races take place. He quotes extensively from newspapers and interviews with the runners themselves, and the overall effect is that of a series of short stories. The characters of the runners come through strongly, revealing an intriguing collection of individuals with varied motivations and training techniques.

This book certainly belongs in all school and public library sports sections. It is of interest not only to runners but as a great source of material on Canadians who deserve to be much better known.

Ron Jaques, Bracebridge & Muskoka Lakes S. S., Bracebridge, ON.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works