Clarence DeMar (1888-1958), seven-time winner of the Boston Marathon, lived and worked in the Monadnock region during the 1930s.
Among marathoners, DeMar is remembered as one of the all-time greats. No other marathoner has won seven times at Boston. His seventh victory in Boston came in 1930, when he became the oldest winner of the event at the age of 41. He still holds that record as well.
As a competitor, DeMar was legendary. In 1983, DeMar's widow, Margaret DeMar Arnold told a story which takes the legend a little further. Just a few days before he died of cancer in 1958, Mrs. Arnold recalled, â€śClarence crawled into the backyard and planted a garden. He simply refused to give up.â€ť
DeMar came to the Keene area as an instructor of Industrial Education at Keene State College (then called Keene Normal School). He also worked with the track and cross country teams at the college, training his teams on an old cinder track located near the marathon course's finish line. Just a few hundred yards from the finish line is the site of DeMar's former residence on Appian way.
Clarence DeMar was a fine marathoner, but not world class by today's standards. But given stiffer competition, increased knowledge and improved techniques, we have no doubt that if he were alive today, Clarence DeMar would be the very best… as he was during his lifetime.