Monday, February 06, 2006

Who is Jacqueline Gareau?

In 1980 Jacqueline Gareau ran the Boston course in 2:34:28 --a new women's record at the time -- beating Joan Benoit Samuelson's 2:35:15 from the previous year.

But there were no celebrations at the finish line for the Gareau. No laurel wreath. No winner's medal.

Instead the cheers and the accolades that day went to Rosie Ruiz.

Seven days passed before Gareau would be named women's champion and Ruiz found to be a fraud. Gareau would return to Boston and place 5th in '81, 2nd in '82, and 2nd in '83.

Ask a Boston sports fan, "Who's Rosie Ruiz?" and there's a very good chance they'll know her story. They'll say she jumped into the Boston Marathon with a mile to go, crowned the winner, and then later found to be a cheater. Doubtful they'll know who Jacqueline Gareau is. Tell them. She never got the real celebration she deserved on that Marathon day. And deserves to be a much bigger part of that marathon story.