On my run this morning I was listening to a podcast (Phedippidations episode 38) regarding the Boston Marathon. It reminded me of a funny story involving Shannon’s grandfather, Jimmy Dooley. Probably 8 years ago, (the Dooleys have both since passed away) Shannon and I were over her grandparent’s place and the Masters golf tournament was on TV. In small talk fashion, I asked gramp about watching the tournament. He responded “Yeah, watching that guy Tarzan Brown.” He had Alzheimer’s and I shrugged it off with a laugh that Jimmy was obviously a little confused. Gramp Dooley continued, “Yeah, he’s a Narragansett Indian.” Man, gramp has really lost it; he thinks Tiger Woods is an Indian from Rhode Island named “Tarzan Brown!” A few days later I told my brother-in-law Sean that story and we both thought it was pretty funny. But then a few weeks later Sean read in a sports history book that Tarzan Brown, a Narragansett Indian had won the Boston Marathon in 1936 and 1939. Tarzan was actually a real person! Gramp Dooley’s mind was digging up some old memories! The Dooleys lived in Rhode Island back in the day and Tarzan was a famous local hero. The podcast I was listening to this morning talked about the 1936 Boston marathon where John A. Kelley caught up to Tarzan, who was leading the race, at the 20 mile mark. At that point Kelley overtook Tarzan and Kelley patted Tarzan on the back as he ran by. Tarzan used the pat on the back as motivation to catch back up to Kelley and win the race. The story goes that the infamous last Newton hill was named “Heartbreak Hill” because Tarzan "broke Kelley's heart” with that 1936 victory. Also interesting, in the 1939 Boston Marathon, Tarzan was the first runner to break the 2:30 mark for the marathon.
Sorry we doubted you Jimmy!