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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bringing The Masses To The Open Water

Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Individuals inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame are not always swimmers, coaches or pilots.

Honorees like Jerry Nason have contributed mightily to the sport via their profound understanding of endurance sports and their writing talents.

Nason was an American marathon runner and sports writer from Winchester, Massachusetts. He wrote frequently about the Boston Light Swim and did much to support marathon swimming in New England.

Nason promoted the swims of Jim Doty, Ralph Willard and the New England Marathon Swimming Association. His writings told the story of the technical aspects of the marathon swimming.

He was an unparalleled wordsmith when it came to describing the inner drive needed by the marathon swimmer to complete their attempts. Before the advent of the Internet, Nason enabled readers to understand the experiences of those who pushed themselves to extraordinary lengths in the open water.

His efforts and reach were the reasons why the International Swimming Hall of Fame gave him the 1974 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award* and was honored by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1974 as an Honour Administrator.

Nason was born to write about sports. He began working at the Boston Globe newspaper as a copy boy before becoming a cartoonist. He was elevated to schoolboy sports editor, college editor and then sports editor and columnist in 1942. His career culminated as the sports editor for the Boston Globe for 33 years before retiring in 1974. He was nicknamed 'The Expert' for his knowledge of the Boston Marathon and his publication of its history.

Similar to his recognition in the marathon swimming world, Nason became the first non-runner elected to the Road Runners Hall of Fame. But he not only pecked on his typewriter to cover 7 Olympic Games, the 1941 Sugar Bowl, numerous baseball World Series, world championship fights, Harvard football games, and track meets, but also worked hard to colorfully describe the exploits of open water swimmers.

While Nason is known more for his numerous awards by his peers and in his industry, the marathon swimming world appreciated his efforts to bring the passion of swimmers to the general public.

* The Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award is an award of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and was established in 1970 by the New England Marathon Swimming Association to honor and recognize the contribution of individuals and groups making major contributions to Marathon Swimming and serve as a perpetual memorial to Irving Davids and Captain Roger Wheeler.

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