In some ways Jack Friel was the most important founding member of the Longboat roadrunners. As a member of the University of Toronto Track club he had won the Toronto Police Games Marathon in the late ‘70’s in a time of 2:27. His presence at our founding meeting gave it a gravity it wouldn’t have had without him. Jack, who taught metal-working to university engineering students, had been a longtime training partner of Bruce Kidd, the world-class middle-distance runner and U of T professor. Bruce had recently written a biography of Tom Longboat for use in schools. Jack proposed at our meeting that we name our new club the Longboat Roadrunners, citing Bruce’s book. It seems hard to believe now, but it was a close vote between Jack’s suggestion and two other proposals. The respect and prestige he lent to the issue won the day. Jack set and held many Longboat Masters records for the first decade of the club’s history. He was an enthusiastic participant in many of our team events, including our historic victory in the Ottawa-to-Kingston Relay. Our Constitution stresses athletic performance, team competition and social participation. Jack embodied all three of these elements.
By Bert de Vries