Mr. De-Marathon

Clarence DeMar running on the BAA marathon – Photo from The Boston Public Library

Reading, MA – Clarence “Mr. De-Marathon” DeMar is a name that is synonymous with the Boston Marathon. The seven-time winner of the race is still considered one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time. However, many may have yet to learn DeMar had a close connection with the town of Reading, MA.

DeMar and his wife Katherine moved to Forest Street in Reading in 1916. His home was a modest colonial-style house. The house still stands today and is marked with a plaque honoring DeMar.

Clarence DeMar received his early education in a one-room schoolhouse in his hometown of Madeira, Ohio. As a teenager, he began his running career and competed in the marathon at two Olympic Games: 1912 Stockholm Olympics and the 1924 Paris Olympics. DeMar’s dedication to running paid off when he won his first Boston Marathon in 1911. Later he worked at the Boston Herald in Boston, Massachusetts, as a typesetter and pressman. He could often be seen running or jogging home to Reading after a day’s work.

As the Boston Marathon approaches, runners worldwide will gather in Hopkinton to compete in the world-famous race. Patriots’ Day was very important for Clarence DeMar, as it was the day of the Boston Marathon.

Clarence DeMar running with his children – Photo from Boston Public Library

“I always felt that the marathon was an event that could bring people from all over the world together in a spirit of friendship and camaraderie. It’s a race that demands a lot from the runners, but it also rewards them in ways that are hard to describe. To me, the Boston Marathon was always more than just a race – it was a symbol of everything that’s great about running and about life,” said DeMar to the Boston Globe after his seventh and final win in 1930.

Patriots’ Day and the Boston Marathon are synonymous with Clarence DeMar, and his legacy continues to inspire runners and spectators alike to this day.

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