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Tom Longboat Award
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Tom Longboat (larger version)
Thomas Longboat (June 4, 1887 – January 9, 1949) was an Onondaga distance runner from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario, and for much of his career the dominant long distance runner of the time. When he was a child a Mohawk resident of the reserve, Bill Davis, who in 1901 finished second in the Boston Marathon, interested him in running races.

He began racing in 1905, finishing second in the Victoria Day race at Caledonia, Ontario. His first important victory was in the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario in 1906, which he won by three minutes. In 1907 he won the Boston Marathon in a record time of 2:24:24 over the old 24-1/2 mile course, four minutes and 59 seconds faster than any of the previous ten winners of the event. He collapsed, however, in the 1908 Olympic marathon, along with several other leading runners, and a rematch was organized the same year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Longboat won this race, turned professional, and in 1909 at the same venue won the title of Professional Champion of the World in another marathon.

1907 His coaches did not approve of his alternation of hard workouts with "active rest" such as long walks. When he was a professional, these recovery periods annoyed his promoters and the sports press often labelled him "lazy," although the practice of incorporating "hard", "easy", and "recovery" days into training is normal today. Because of this and other disputes with his managers Longboat bought out his contract, after which his times improved.

Longboat's chief rival was Alfred Shrubb, whom he raced ten times, winning all the races at 20 miles or more and losing all those at shorter distances.

He served as a dispatch runner in France in World War I while maintaining a professional career. He retired following the war.

In 1951 the Tom Longboat Awards were instituted by Jan Eisenhardt. This program, administered since 1999 by the Aboriginal Sport Circle, annually honours outstanding First Nations athletes and sportsmen in each province; national male and female winners are selected from the provincial winners.

Longboat is also commemorated annually by the Toronto Island 10 km race.
 
Regional Winners of the Tom Longboat Award
2001
Male: Barry Beniot-Conne River
Female: None

2002
Male: Jason Edmonds, Makkovik
Female: Holly Andersen, Makkovik

2003
Male: Paul McDonald, Conne River
Female: None

2004
Male: Dave Winters, HV-GB
Female: Sandi Benoit, Conne River

2005
Male: Shane and Roy Byrne, co-winners, Natuashish
Female: None

2006
Male: Atshapi Andrew, Sheshatshui
Female: Marie Soliel Penashue, Sheshatshui

2007
Male: Jason Bessey, HV-GB
Female: Alora Dawn Blanchard, Shallop cove, NL
 
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Nikashantess with Team BC Participant at Cowichan 2008 (larger version)
2008 Male Regional Tom Longboat Award Winner
The 2008 winner of the Regional Male Tom Longboat Award is Nikashantess Penashue of Sheshatshiu, Labrador. In 2008 Nikashantess was the winner of the Provincial Senior Men's Amature Golf title, not only was he the first Aboriginal to win the title but was also the youngest and the first ever junior age Captain of Newfoundlands Senior Team at the Nationals in Lethbridge Alberta. A week later he won the Gold Medal in the Midget Division at the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games held in British Columbia. On top of that he was a member of the Provicial X-Country Ski team and also a member of Team Newfoundland Labrador at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Sault St. Marie ONT.
To go along with all of his Athletic ability and accomplisments, Nikashantess also went on the 200-KM walk organized by his Grandmother Dr. Elizabeth Penashue to raise awareness of their culture and what the land means to the Innu of Labrador.
 
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Sabrina Muise winning the 400M Gold Medal at the North American Indigenous Games (larger version)
2008 Female Regional Tom Longboat Award Winner Sabrina Muise
The 2008 winner of the Regional Female Tom Longboat Award is Sabrina Muise of Stephenville, NL. Sabrina is of Mi'kmaq Ancestry and is one of the few Aboriginal Athletes we have in Newfoundland Labrador who embraces her culture at such a young age attending sharing circles, assisting with the healing lodge and is on several committees concerning Aboriginal youth.
At twelve years old, Sabrina was a part of Team NL at the 2008 North American Indigenous Games and came home with four medals including Gold in the 400m run. Along with her accomplishments at Cowichan 2008, Sabrina regularly takes part in the Legion Meet in St John's and is a member of the Hershey's Track and field Team.
When asked why she likes to run... her comment was
"I not only run for myself, I run for my spirit; Little Snake."
 
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Official carriers for the ASRCNL

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