Narragansett tribal member Mikki Wosencroft of Manhattan planned to run today’s Boston Marathon in honor of fellow Narragansett Ellison “Tarzan” Brown, who grew up in Charlestown and Westerly and won the marathon in 1936 and 1939.
The 2016 race is the 80th anniversary of Brown’s first marathon victory, the 50th anniversary of women being allowed to race, and the 120th anniversary of the marathon. Brown was also a member of the 1936 U.S. Olympic team.
To mark the anniversary of Brown’s first victory, the Boston Athletic Association presented “Native American Running: Culture, Health, Sport,” a free, multiday event leading up to the marathon that explored the history and importance of Native American running traditions and featured speakers and panel discussions. The event was a collaboration of the association, Harvard University, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and the Harvard University Native American Program.
Along with Brown, the athletic association celebrated Thomas Longboat, a distance runner of the Onondaga Six Nations people, who won the marathon and set a course-record time of 2:24:24 in 1907.
Wosencroft, 38, said she has run a number of marathons and always dreamed of running in Boston.