Early winners of Canadian male athlete of the year honours reflected a golden age of long distance running in Canada. Rankine, of Preston, Ontario, earned a Silver medal in the six-mile race and finished fourth in the three-mile event at the 1934 British Empire Games in London. The 1935 recognition of Robert Rankine marked yet another laurel for a distance runner. He continued his impressive distance running exploits by going undefeated in all of his races from five to 15 miles. He also won his second consecutive Canadian 10-mile championship, and then defeated the top American distance runners for the third straight time by setting a course record at the prestigious Berwick Modified Marathon. News reports note he then quit running for the rest of the season to undergo a hernia operation. Rankine went on to win a Silver medal in the men’s six-mile race and a Bronze medal in the men’s three-mile race at the 1938 British Empire Games in Sydney.

Wendy Long

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