Brief Summaries of the Boston Marathon

John J McDermott baa_1898_mcdermott_sm

McDermott

Ronald McDonald 220px-MacDonald-Evan_Nappen,Esq._Collection

MacDonald

1897 – 1909: The United States vs. Canada

When Canada’s Ronald J. MacDonald captured the second Boston Marathon in 1898, besting  by almost thirteen minutes the time of New York’s John J. McDermott the year before, he signaled very quickly Boston would not be solely a United States affair. Through the early 1930s, runners from the two North American nations accounted for all Boston victories

1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903
1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909

 

Veteran marathoner Clarence DeMar of the Melrose American Legion Post crosses the finish line April 19, 1930 in Boston, Mass., to win the Boston Marathon for the last of his record seven wins.  DeMar's time was 2:34:48.2. (AP Photo)

Veteran marathoner Clarence DeMar of the Melrose American Legion Post crosses the finish line April 19, 1930 in Boston, Mass., to win the last of his record seven Boston wins. DeMar’s time was 2:34:48.2. (AP Photo)

1910 – 1930: The Era of “Mr. DeMarathon”

Clarence DeMar survived a Dickensian childhood and bad medical advice to win the Boston Marathon seven times, despite taking two long breaks from running while he was in his twenties.

1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916
1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923
1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

 

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John A. Kelley on his way to his second win at Boston (1945).

1931 – 1946: Kelley the Elder 

Between the ages of 26 and 38, John A. Kelley made a consistent mark among the leaders as he compiled a record of two wins and seven second place finishes.

1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938
1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946

 

BOSTON - APRIL 20: John J. Kelley is presented the winners wreath by John Melia in the 1957 marathon. (Photo by Jack Sheahan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In a rare post WW II American victory, John J. Kelley “The Younger” is presented the 1957 winner’s wreath by John Melia. (Photo by Jack Sheahan/The Boston Globe)

1947 – 1972: Boston Goes Global

In the quarter century following World War II, 12 foreign countries produced Boston Marathon winners, with runners from Japan and Finland leading the way with six victories apiece.

1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953
1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960
1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967
1968 1969 1970 1971 1972

 

12 Apr 1982, Boston, Massachusetts, USA --- Dick Beardsley, Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon. Salazar won with a time of 2:08:52 and second place Dick Beardsley's was 2:08:54, marking the first time two runners had broken 2:09 in the same race. --- Image by © Steven Sutton/Duomo/Corbis

Dick Beardsley, Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon, before the race evolved into the “Duel in the Sun.” Salazar won with a time of 2:08:52. Dick Beardsley’s second place in 2:08:54 marked the first time two runners had broken 2:09 in the same race. (Steven Sutton Photo)

1973 – 1985: The Golden Age of American Road Racing

Led by Bill Rodgers with four wins, five different American men over an eleven year stretch placed first in the Boston Marathon.

1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985

 

JH East Africa Collage

[Top] Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia captures the first of two Boston wins in 2013. [Bottom] Kenya owned the podium in 2012, becoming the first country to win the top three placements in the men’s and women’s division Kenya swept the men’s podium four times (2003, ’04, ’07, and ’12) .

1986 to the Present: John Hancock and the East Africans

With the backing of Boston-based John Hancock Financial Services as its major sponsor, the Boston Marathon in 1986 was able to award prize money for the first time. This major change enabled the race to once again attract the top marathoners in the world. Beginning in 1988 with a victory by Kenya’s Ibrahim Hussein, runners born in East Africa established a record of dominance that continues until today, taking 26 out of 28 races.

1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
2014