Ronald MacDonald was born in 1874 at Fraser’s Grant, Antigonish. He left Nova Scotia at the age of sixteen to begin work as a lineman on the Cambridge Port, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1897, MacDonald won the 7-mile United States Cross-Country Championship.
The following year, as a student at Boston College, he set the World Record for the 11-mile cross-country race. That same year, he made headlines as the first Nova Scotian to ever win the Boston Marathon. He also became the first Nova Scotian to compete at the Olympic Games, when he represented Canada at the 1900 Paris Olympics.
In 1901, MacDonald returned home and enrolled at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. While attending the University he continued his prestigious running career, breaking the Canadian 3- and 5-mile records. He also set a new World Record for the 1-mile indoor race.
MacDonald organized the first indoor sports meet in Eastern Canada, which took place November 18, 1902. He made an excellent showing at this meet, defeating John Lordon, Ireland’s champion runner, in a 3-mile race. In July 1903, MacDonald defeated Brignoli, the recent winner of the Boston Marathon, in a 5-mile race.
It was in September of 1903 that he turned his attention to academics and entered medical school. He went on to have a successful career as a doctor, practicing medicine in both Newfoundland and Antigonish. In 1910, Ronald MacDonald ran his last marathon in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and, in typical fashion, he was the winner.
• Winner of 1897 7-mile US Cross Country Champ.
• Set World Record for 11-mile Cross Country, 1898
• 1st Nova Scotian to win the Boston Marathon
• 1st Nova Scotian to compete at the Olympic Games
• Canadian 3 and 5 mile record breaker
• Organized 1st indoor sports meet in Eastern Canada
• Ran and won his last marathon in 1910