Joseph Forshaw

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Joseph Forshaw athletics

Joseph Forshaw 1.jpg
Joseph Forshaw (1912)

Full name Joseph Forshaw Jr.
nation United States 48United States United States
birthday May 13, 1881
place of birth St. LouisUSA
size 184 cm
Weight 74 kg
date of death November 26, 1964
Place of death St. Louis, USA
discipline Long distance running
Best performance Marathon: 2:30:01 h
society Missouri Athletic Club;
St. Louis Athletic Club
Medal table
Olympic games 0 × gold 0 × silver 1 × bronze
Olympic rings Olympic games
bronze London 1908 Marathon run

Joseph Forshaw ( Joseph "Joe" Forshaw Jr .; born May 13, 1881 in St. Louis , Missouri ; † November 26, 1964 ibid.) Was an American marathon runner .

He was the second of seven children of Margaret and Joseph Forshaw Sr., a cabinet maker who emigrated from England to the United States in 1870 . As a child, Joe, as he was called, was often sickly, suffering from faintness attacks and shortness of breath. Doctors attested that he had a weak heart and, when he was seven, suspected that he might die before he reached adulthood. His father then decided to counter the doctors' judgment with a physical exercise program. This included long walks over 40 km and even longer ice skating all day. In addition, Joe Forshaw received from his father a protein drink consisting of sherry with a stirred raw egg. At the age of 13, Forshaw was in good health and also found that he had exceptional endurance with his schoolmates.

In 1898, after opening the first artificial ice rink in St. Louis, Forshaw took part in several speed skating competitions and won most of them. He also played on the Central High School ice hockey team and later on a very successful ice hockey team in his hometown. He competed in smaller local bike races and won there too. Another sporting passion of Forshaw was long-distance swimming , so he participated several times in the 10  mile swimming competition in the Mississippi River , but surprisingly never won it in view of his other successes.

In 1903 Joseph Forshaw became a member of the newly formed Missouri Athletic Club. Here he took part in club competitions for the first time in running competitions over half and full mile. Although he only finished second and third, this laid the foundation for his running career.

Joseph Forshaw in 1904 before a non-Olympic competition

In 1904 the World's Fair took place in Forshaw's hometown of St. Louis , as part of which the 1904 Olympic Games were held. In addition to the competitions that are considered Olympic by today's standards , there were also numerous non-Olympic sports competitions. This included competitions with an exclusively national character as well as the handicap competitions, which were very popular at the time , in which, for leveling different levels of performance, e.g. B. Timings have been set. Forshaw was a multiple participant in these competitions. He won the 2 mile run at the Olympic Open Handicap Meeting, the 2 mile run at the Western AAU Handicap Meeting, the 1 mile run at the Special Athletic Event, the 1 mile run at the Olympic Irish Sports Meeting, and finished in two others Competitions take third place. Forshaw's particular interest, however, was the Olympic marathon , in which he stood as a spectator on the track. Fascinated by the achievements and willpower of the athletes, a new passion was born for him.

In 1905 Forshaw ran his first marathon at the premiere of the 25-mile run from Freeburg to St. Louis, hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club . Forshaw won the race with 3: 16: 37.4 hours and 20 minutes ahead of the runner-up. In the same year he won two more competitions over similar distances.

In 1906 Forshaw was nominated by the American Olympic Committee , the predecessor organization of the United States Olympic Committee , for the marathon at the 1906 Athens Intermediate Games . His calling was based solely on the fact that Forshaw was one of the best long-distance runners in the USA at the time, because national elimination competitions, the US trials, were not introduced until 1908. The Olympic run from Marathon to Athens was a disappointment for Forshaw. A knee injury plagued him during the race, but he still achieved twelfth place.

In 1907 and 1908 Forshaw, who had meanwhile also become West American cross-country champion , took part again in the marathon in his hometown, which was organized in 1908 as the second elimination run for participation in the 1908 Olympic Games in London, alongside the Boston Marathon . With a personal best of 2: 30: 00.4 hours, which he was not supposed to achieve again, he finished second only 4 seconds behind the winner, Sidney Hatch , and qualified as an Olympic participant.

Joseph Forshaw at the 1908 Olympic marathon

Forshaw was not a favorite of the Olympic marathon in 1908. His job was to accompany and support Lewis Tewanima , who was more highly rated as a runner . After 30 km it had become so slow and without any chance of victory that Forshaw continued to run alone at a much higher pace. He fought his way past many competitors and finally crossed the finish line in fourth. He didn't notice the drama about the first runner to cross the finish line, Dorando Pietri . Due to the disqualification of Pietri, Forshaw finally took third place. After finding out what agony the runners placed in front of him had suffered, he was firmly convinced that he would have achieved the victory if he had broken away from Tewanima a few kilometers earlier. Spectators and fellow runners confirmed that Forshaw had left the freshest impression of all runners at the finish.

In 1909 Joseph Forshaw walked up Pikes Peak in a record time of 2:41 hours . It is unknown where he started from, but it was hardly the distance and distance covered in today's Pikes Peak Marathon .

In 1911 and 1912 Forshaw was almost naturally a participant in the St. Louis marathon, and as in 1908 it was an elimination competition in 1912, this time for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. With a time of 2:37:32 hours he crossed the finish line in second place and surprisingly qualified again as an Olympian.

Forshaw was one of the oldest runners in Stockholm at the age of 31, and he was no longer considered one of the best. In the race he was always in the middle of the field, but thanks to his experience and excellent endurance, he fought his way up position after position and finally reached tenth place.

The placements at the Olympic Games for Joseph Forshaw:

  • Olympic Intermediate Games 1906, Athens
    • Marathon - Twelfth place without timekeeping (gold to Billy Sherring from Canada with 2: 51: 23.6 hours)
  • IV. 1908 Summer Olympics, London
    • Marathon - bronze with 2:57: 10.4 hours (gold to John Hayes from the USA with 2: 55: 18.4 hours; silver to Charles Hefferon from South Africa with 2: 56: 06.0 hours)
  • V. 1912 Summer Olympics, Stockholm
    • Marathon - Tenth place with 2: 49: 49.4 hours (gold to Ken McArthur from South Africa with 2: 36: 54.8 hours)

After returning from Stockholm Forshaw withdrew from competitive sports and joined his father's company, which manufactured cast and molded parts for blast furnaces. In 1914 he married and raised four children.

His interest in sport remained unbroken even in old age. In 1915 Forshaw founded an amateur ice hockey team, in which he was an active player until he was 51. He played in various clubs lacrosse and tennis . With his athletic versatility and experience, it was not surprising that Forshaw was also active as a sports official. For several years he was president of the American Athletics Federation (WAAU). He founded an ice skating association for the state of Missouri and became its chairman. Forshaw was also committed to helping disadvantaged young people, for whom he founded a club in which they were to be promoted through a sports program.

At the age of 57, Forshaw learned a new sport, figure skating , and continued this sport until he was 80.

Forshaw was certainly not a very successful athlete, but it is noteworthy that his name appeared around four Olympic Games.

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