Back in the day before data sheets and computers, runners were registered by friends and family members of Neal Shine, a Detroit Free Press reporter, who organized the first Detroit Free Press Marathon. A 27-year old college instructor from Bowling Green Ohio, Robert McOmber was the first male to cross the finish line, and Erma Tranter, a former Detroiter, was the women’s winner. 3000 runners participated.
Source : Kayla Daugherty, “How non-running newspaper guy launched the Detroit Free Press marathon“, Detroit Free Press, September 29, 2017.
More Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon information.