James Clarke Wins The 1909 Brooklyn Marathon.

Image Credit: The Bain Collection At The Library Of Congress
runners leaving the Amory at the start of the marathon.

February 12th 1909 and the Brooklyn marathon was about to start. Crowds were tightly packed along the more popular areas of the race route, especially the areas around Seagate and Coney Island.
Some of the papers of the day noted the marathons popularity threatened to overshadow president Lincolns centenary celebration. With crowds estimated at around a quarter million spectators, Police and 40 troops from the 3rd battery were sent to keep the road clear.
Set off by major general Charles f. Roe (n.g.n.y) at a little before 2pm, 164 runners started the race. Setting out from the Thirteenth Regiment Armory on Sumner Avenue (now renamed Marcus Garvey Boulevard) The route lead along Bedford Avenue before turning onto Eastern parkway and then onto Flatbush Avenue. From there it was onwards to Ocean Avenue and then Parkside Avenue before running onto Ocean Parkway and then Surf Avenue, finally to Seagate where the runners turned back half a mile beyond the gate, returning to the armory were they made eight final laps around the track to finish.
Watched inside the armory by 8000 spectators and a marching band, James Clarke, who had lead from the 16th mile, entered the track to wild applause from the crowd. He had covered three laps of the eight final laps around the track to finish before his nearest rival James Crowley entered the armory. His winning time of 2:46:52 was 2 minutes 14 seconds clear of Crowley, and a new world record for the marathon.


Aleks said...

Nice post!

There were actually two Brooklyn Marathons that year. The Brooklyn-Seagate on 2/12/1909 where James Clarke won. The other took place only ten days later where Clarke was beat by Edwin H. White (2:53:46), my great uncle, and Albert Raines (2:58:50).

I've actually been trying to acquire more photos from both of these races like the one you have posted. Do you have any leads on finding more of these?

robotcat said...

Thanks for the comment.
The photograph shown in the post is taken from the Bain Newspaper Service Collection held at the Library Of Congress(http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/ggbainhtml/ggbainabt.html).
There is another blog that has covered the subject in photographs called Shorpy (http://www.shorpy.com/).They posted pictures of the winners, and so may have more pictures or further references.
I found the route information and results in the New York Times online archive.
Hope this helps, if i find any more links i will post them here.

Unknown said...

My grandfather ran in that race, and my cousin used to have a certificate that he got for finishing. I've searched, unsuccessfully, for a list of contestants, and a list of finishers. I would love to know where my grandfather placed. The NY Times published a letter he wrote to the editor inquiring how he could be allowed to compete in the Feb. 12, 1909 race.