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DeMar
DeMar
Bill Bowerman
Clarence DeMar
DeMar won Boston a record seven times in all!
 DeMar, a professional linotyper, writer, Sunday school teacher, boy scout master, farmer, husband and father is a legend.
DeMar


"Just a few nights before the BAA (Boston Marathon) in 1911, in my sleep I dreamt distinctly that I had won the big race. Of course, I know such things are just a coincidence, but I was glad of the encouragement. One or two runners thought I might win and just one newspaper, the old Boston Journal, had an item in Bob Dunbar's column, saying, 'Watch DeMar, he might win in fast time,' " Clarence DeMar wrote in his autobiography, Marathon.

And DeMar did win Boston that year and a record seven times in all. First in 1911 and then in '22, '23, '24, '27, '28 and '30. Eventually, DeMar would race in 33 Boston Marathons between 1910 and 1954, completing his last at age 65.

DeMar grew up in poverty and was separated from his family through much of his childhood. He grew fiercely independent. He ran cross-country while a junior in college, but dropped out mid-year. He needed to help his mother support his five younger brothers and sisters. He worked in a print shop to earn a living. Eventually DeMar earned as an associate's degree from Harvard University and a master's degree from Boston University while attending night school. He trained for races by running to and from work each day.

He was known for having a wild side. DeMar didn't take well to photographers, passersby or spectators. DeMar felt they distracted his concentration during workouts and in races. In 1922, he was grazed by a car during the Boston Marathon and set out to punch the driver. At the 1935 Boston Marathon, a drunk man staggered into his path wanting to shake hands, there was a confrontation before DeMar continued running.

But through all this, DeMar – a professional linotyper, writer, Sunday school teacher, boy scout master, farmer, husband and father – is a legend. DeMar succumbed to stomach cancer in 1958, age 70. But his life as a runner is celebrated with every year the Boston Marathon continues.

DeMar


 

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