1947 Barefoot Boston

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Barefoot Boston:

In the late 1940s, Donald Post, “the world’s only all-round barefoot athlete,” was active at the semi-pro level in football, basketball, and baseball. In addition to his multiple sports career, “Barefoot” Post was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, a Kodak employee, and an avid editorial writer.

His success at self promotion is demonstrated by these 1947 pre-Boston Marathon newspaper articles from the Columbus Dispatch and the Berkshire Evening Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts).

 

Barefoot Boy Plans To Try Marathon

ROCHESTER, N. Y. MAR. 26 —AP—After a month of jogging his way through the snow of Maplewood Park—without shoes—Donald A. “Barefoot” Post has professed himself ready for his first try at the Boston Marathon he’ll run barefoot.

Post has a 10-year career of barefoot athletics behind him, in football, basketball and softball. Thus far a 10-mile jaunt is the longest Post has managed in his training routine, but he feels that better weather conditions next month, plus and additional month of conditioning, will enable him to cover the 26-mile marathon course.

156 Starters In Annual Boston Run/
51st Marathon Gets Off in 47-Degree Weather

BOSTON: Saturday, April 19, 1947. A classy field of 156, including six former winners and the finest foreign delegation in years, started from Hopkinton at noon today in the 51st renewal of the Boston AA marathon, the city’s top annual Patriots Day event. A spanking northwest breeze chilled the runners as they began the 26-mile 385-yard grind to Boston’s Back Bay in 47-degree weather over a hill-and-dale course lined with a Patriots Day crowd of some 500,000. Among 28 scratches were two standout performers two-time winner Ellison (Tarzan) Brown of Rhode Island and Ki Chung Sohm, one of three Korean contenders.

Brown dropped out because of a sprained ankle, while the Korean, the Olympic record-holder, was reported ill. Stylianos Kynakides of Greece, last year’s winner, and most of the other favorites were deep in the pack as the classic got under way. Running barefoot as the field broke under the starter’s gun was Donald A. Post of Rochester, N.Y. He was the only man to discard shoes.

 

Six decades later, Post recalled he entered the 1947 marathon with the intent of taking first place, and of course, as was his trademark, was running barefoot. However, Post dropped out after 15 miles when he realized he was not going to win: “There were just too many professionals and foreign runners that year,” he said. So, instead of continuing fruitlessly, he decided to go and watch a Boston Braves baseball game instead…barefoot.

Post died in 2014 at the age of 89.

 

 

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“Fancy Footwork: Heading for Boston Marathon today will be Don (Barefoot) Post and his trainer, Rocky Scott, who pilots Ridge Clippers sports teams and has guided the sports career of Post since the latter began barefoot competition. At top, Scott bandages Post’s ankle. Below, Post demonstrates barefoot running technique he’ll use in the 26-mile grind Saturday. Right, he toughens feet on stones.”

 

[Thanks to Bob Neinest and Barefoot Ted’s Aventures for their inspiration and research for this page.]