Gérard Côté’s first sporting love was boxing but no one will ever know how well he might have done in the ring. Growing up in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Côté began running as part of his boxing training, but decided he preferred running to boxing. He never looked back, although success took time. Côté set his sights on winning the prestigious Boston Marathon, but in four attempts he could finish no better than seventh place. In 1940, he declared that year’s entry would be his fifth and final attempt. The diminutive 26-year-old runner finally had his day. Côté won the race in 2 hours, 28 minutes, 28 seconds, hacking 23 seconds off the course record. Months later he would complete an impressive marathon double, by winning the Yonkers Marathon, noting in interviews he incorporated snowshoe running as part of his training. Côté would go on to win three more Boston Marathons, two more Yonkers events and compete at the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

Wendy Long

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