The Clarence DeMar marathon has long been a major annual event in the Monadnock Region, taking local and out-of-state runners on a 26.2-mile Sunday morning jaunt through Gilsum, Surry and Keene. For decades the event honoring the late fleet-footed runner and Keene State College professor, who won a record seven Boston Marathons between 1911 and 1930, drew hundreds of runners. But in recent years, participation began to dwindle and the small, but dedicated group of original organizers announced this — the 35th running — would be its last.
That was until the group handed off the race organizing baton to Keene’s Elm City Rotary Club, which put on Sunday’s marathon. With a course facelift and the addition of a program that got 360 local students and their families involved, the event was a heartwarming revival of a race that represents some of the best aspects of small-town marathons.