Mr. Art Keay – A Remarkable Athlete
Art Keay was a competitive runner before he discovered the heel/toe style of walking. In 1919, he won the Toronto and District Boy Scouts’ ½ mile race. Thus began a running career that saw him representing Canada at the 1928 Olympics and at the first British Empire Games in Hamilton in 1930. Five years later, he finished 64th in the Boston Marathon.
Wear and tear on his legs eventually prompted the switch to walking, but did not diminish his competitive spirit. He continued to participate in masters races but also became very well-known for completing many distance walks in order to promote the charitable aims of the Metro Toronto Police Games. Try to imagine racewalking to Toronto from Montreal, Tobermory, Ottawa, Buffalo or Detroit! Art Keay was 54 when he completed the Montreal – Toronto walk during which he averaged 45 miles a day. It’s no wonder that spontaneous cheers erupted when he arrived at the Games’ venue.
Art Keay also became a judge at racewalking events, officiating at the British Commonwealth Games, the Pan Am Games and at the Montreal Olympics. Understandably, he was honored by the Ontario government in 1982 for his contributions to fitness and amateur sport. Even when he was in his 80’s, he continued to participate in races to raise money to help others, and the example that he set continues to inspire us.