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OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The event is nearly forgotten, but 75-years ago, The Old Orchard Beach 10-Mile Marathon was the biggest sporting event of the summer.

On August 10, 1938, an estimated fifty thousand people gathered at the beach to see the greatest runners of the day. Among them was a Boston Marathon champion and member of the Narragansett Tribe named "Tarzan" Brown.

"This was a Wednesday in 1938, towards the end of the Great Depression, but they expected that many people which was incredible," said Thomas Bennett the Director of the Prince Memorial Library in Cumberland. Bennett is a runner and a researcher who brought the Old Orchard Beach event to light.

One of America's most popular comedians in that Golden Age of Radio, Fred Allen served as emcee of the event. Fred Allen was a summer resident of Old Orchard Beach.

WGAN Radio of Portland, which had signed on the air for the first time that very week broadcast the event live.

"They had four Boston Marathon Champions who amassed a total of 14 titles," said Bennett who remains one of Maine's top runners in his age group.

Tarzan Brown won in a time of 51:18. Hawk Zamperelli was 45 seconds behind with three time Boston Marathon Champion Les Pawson finishing third.

In the three years that the race was run, Johnny Kelly and Clarence DeMar also joined the field.

One of America's most popular comedians in that Golden Age of Radio, Fred Allen served as emcee of the event. Fred Allen was a summer resident of Old Orchard Beach.

Some Portland Press Herald photographs bring the event to life in our accompanying story. The PPH is making those photographs available to the public through the Portland Public Library. Other photographs come from the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library.

Steve Podgajny, Director of the Portland Library and a former Olympic Trials Marathon competitor calls the photography collection in Portland a great gift to the people of Maine.

"It is a treasure trove, well oversix hundred thousandimages and we've been working through it the lastthree years. There's a lot more to come, particularly around the topic of sports and it is amazing in terms of how it transcends eras, time, its a beautiful thing."

Bennett notes that it was an effort by Tarzan Brown which gave Heartbreak Hill its name.

"In the 1939 race, Johnny Kelly sees Tarzan Brown ahead of him. Tarzan is starting to struggle a little bit. Johnny thinks he's got it made. He goes up and he taps Tarzan on the back to say 'let's go' or 'nice race sorry that you're fading.' Tarzan takes off, leaves Johnny behind. Johnny eventually finishes infifth place so his move did not work and at the end he mentioned 'I just didn't have it up Heartbreak Hill.'"

Tarzan won that Boston Marathon as he did the Old Orchard Beach 10-Mile Marathon, 75 years ago next week.

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