Billy Sherring

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Sherring usually wore a jersey with a shamrock, the crest of the St. Patrick's Athletic Club , as was the case with the Olympic marathon . Ignorant onlookers thought it was the Canadian maple leaf

Billy Sherring (actually William John Sherring ; born September 18, 1878 in Hamilton , Ontario ; † September 5, 1964 ibid) was a Canadian marathon runner and Olympic champion .

Sherring, along with his compatriot Jack Caffery , who won the Boston Marathon ahead of Sherring in 1900 and 1901 , was one of the world's best marathon runners at the time. Both were members of their hometown St Patrick's Athletic Club, Hamilton, which organized a charity concert to fund their participation in the 1906 Athens Intermediate Olympics , which only resulted in proceeds of $ 75. Caffery then gave up the trip. Sherring used the money to make a horse bet. The horse named Cicely brought him luck and with a win rate of 6: 1 also the necessary money for the trip to Athens .

Sherring, a railroad brakeman by profession , reached Athens seven weeks before the start of the Olympic Games. During this time he found work with the local railway company.

The marathon started on May 1st at 2:00 p.m. The only 45 kg heavy Sherring initially held back after the start. Halfway through the race he took the lead, expanded it continuously and finally crossed the finish line as the winner. Prince Konstantin I ran alongside Sherring for the last 50 m or so. The length of the marathon, which varied up to the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris , was 41.86 km in 1906. Sherring needed 2:51:23 h and was almost 7 minutes ahead of second, John Svanberg . Sherring received a living lamb and a statue of the goddess Athena as the winning prize .

After returning to his homeland, Sherring received various monetary prizes and a triumphant reception. After his success, he retired from active sports and worked at customs in Hamilton. However, his experience was still in demand. As a trainer for the Canadian marathon runners, he accompanied his team to the 1908 Olympic Games in London .

Sherring's hometown of Hamilton was a stronghold of long-distance runners at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, not least because the oldest long-distance run in North America and one of the oldest long-distance competitions ever took place here - the Around the Bay Road Race . In honor of Sherring, the 30 km race was renamed the Billy Sherring Memorial Road Race . In addition, a small park in Hamilton was named after him, Billy Sherring Park, and the Province of Ontario erected a plaque of honor at a historic site near Hamilton in 1976.

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