John Lawrence Sullivan (1871-1954)
Born in Newport, Rhode Island Sullivan lived there until he was nine. His family then moved back to Ireland, and when he was fourteen his family moved to Almonte. He would remain in Almonte for the next seventeen years, working in the Rosamond Woolen Mill and beginning his long running career.
In 1902, he moved to Marcellus, New York, where he was employed by the Crown Woolen Mills where he worked until 1950. He often returned to Almonte to visit with family.
Known fondly as the "Little Man of Steel", he began his running career at the age of 13 and continued to run and race for seventy years. In 1951 he ran his last race, a five mile run in the town of Marcellus, New York.
He attributed his good health to his training regime which included daily nine mile runs and jumping rope. In his later years some physicians did some studies with him and found that his pulse and respiration returned to normal in just one minute after he had jumped rope 1000 times.
It is rumored that he once raced a horse and won. The horse promptly collapsed and ultimately died shortly after.
John L. Sullivan before his last race in 1951.
Marcellus, New York
The Almonte Gazette wrote the following accounts of Sullivan‘s performance in 1899:
John Sullivan captures first prize in the 880 yard race and the 220 yard race in Alexandria May 24.
September 2, 1899 at the Caledonian Games at Montreal John L. Sullivan won $24 . He won the mile (in 4:54) and the ˝ mile (in 2:13). He will be traveling to Boston to "try his luck with the American pedestrians Monday - Jack seems to be right in it."