In 1979, she successively won marathons in Ottawa and Montréal. Her victory at the first marathon in Montréal introduced her to the Québec public, and she placed third in the New York Marathon by the year's end.
Gareau, JacquelineJacqueline Gareau, athlete, marathon runner (b at L'Annonciation, Que 10 Mar 1953). In 1974, when she had been employed at a hospital for a year, Jacqueline Gareau began to run for pleasure. At the beginning, she did it simply to get into better physical shape, alternating between walking and running. Then, gradually, she ran more regularly and became able to cover greater distances - so much so that in August 1977 she took part in her first marathon, at Île d'Orléans in Québec. Very pleased with this achievement, the 21-year-old athlete continued training and took part in regional runs where she demonstrated her strong physical fitness.
In 1979, she successively won marathons in Ottawa and Montréal. Her victory at the first marathon in Montréal introduced her to the Québec public, and she placed third in the New York Marathon by the year's end. These outstanding achievements made her a pioneer among Canadian marathon runners and on the international scene.
On April 21, 1980, she won the Boston Marathon, adding her name to the history of world track and field. As it happened, she was a victim of cheating at the time, and was declared the champion one week after the event. During the competition, Rosie Ruiz had crossed the finish line in first place, to everyone's surprise, a feat that raised many questions among the organizers. Ruiz was subsequently disqualified, since she had covered only the two last kilometres of the marathon. For her part, the winner saw her time of 2:34:28 recognized as the female record, and she returned to Boston four more times, placing second in 1982 and 1983.
Also in 1983, in Helsinki, Finland, Gareau took 5th place at the first woman's marathon in the world track and field championships.
In February 1984, she won the Los Angeles Marathon and was selected for the Canadian OLYMPIC team, but unfortunately, she was forced to withdraw from Olympic competition. After she had overcome injuries and surgery, she returned to Boston in April 1987, where she finished in 9th place. Several months later, in Montréal, she added her second victory with a time of 2:32:50.
Jacqueline Gareau was the Canadian marathon record-holder from 1979 to 1984, with a time of 2:29:37. During a career that extended from 1977 to 1988, she won nine marathons and logged Canadian records in numerous events such as the half-marathon, the 20 km, 15 km, 10 mile and 10 km.
In 1991, Jacqueline Gareau was inducted into the Canadian Road Running Hall of Fame, and in 1995, she was named to the Temple de la renommée des sports du Québec (QUEBEC SPORTS HALL OF FAME). Several years later, in 2000, her exceptional talent was honoured as she was named "Women's Marathoner of the 20th century."