The Boston Marathon Loses One Of Its Legends

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 26, 2011
  • Updated Jan. 26, 2011 at 11:05 AM UTC

He was one of the Boston Marathon’s toughest competitors.

Martin Duffy is missed.

Having completed 40 consecutive Boston Marathons, Duffy was a one of the race’s many legends. In 2009, he was diagnosed with tongue cancer induced by the human papillomavirus. That didn’t stop him; he still toed the line in Hopkinton and ran the famous 26.2-mile stretch of road that leads into the center of Boston.

Duffy passed away last November.

He was known by his family and friends as one tough runner. On his 26th consecutive Boston Marathon, Duffy completed the race despite realizing that he had a broken foot at mile 2. “I divided that race into sections of 6 miles, with each segment a challenge to get through,’’ he told the Boston Globe in 2000.

After receiving treatment for his condition, Duffy lost his voice. That didn’t stop him from communicating. He carried an index card around with him that read: “Please Excuse Me For Not Speaking. I have throat Cancer And have lost my Voice. Rejoice in your own!”

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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