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Courtesy: NHPR

Apr 20, 2015 6:38 PM

Century later, Nashua's Henri Renaud still only NH native to win Boston Marathon


Nineteen-year-old Henri Renaud had begun competively running only months before competing in the 13th Boston Marathon.

"I never had anyone to train me except a chum named Fournier, who sometimes used to run with me until he had to drop out on account of the pace I set for him," Renaud said in a story in The Telegraph of Nashua.

A grueling 97 degrees was reported the morning of April 19, 1909. Out of 181 registered runners, only 164 showed up at the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass., and just 73 would finish.

"When I started, I was nearly choked with dust, but when we got going a little, I did not mind it so much," Renaud told The Telegraph. "I ran my own race and refused to be coached by anybody, for I knew just what I could do and how fast I could run the distance. Some fellows wanted me to drop out, as they said I was all in when I reached Wellesley, but I am an American for speed and a Frenchman for gameness, and I guess that will hold them for a while."

Although Renaud won the marathon, he held the third slowest time in Boston Marathon history of 2 hours, 53 minutes, 36 seconds.

Renaud became a local celebrity making a number of promotional appearances while also running in races around New England.

Today, family members of Henri have been working to find a way to have the marathon winner remembered.

The Gate City Striders, a Nashua running club established the Henri Renaud Memorial New Hampshire Marathon Awards, which is given to the top Granite State male and female finishers of the Boston Marathon.

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