April 19, 1947
The first of many Orientals destined to conquer the Hopkinton-to-Boston course, Yun Bok Suh survived a nasty fall, a broken shoe lacing, and a hard fight with Finland’s European champion, Mikko Hietanen, on his way to a world best performance of 2:25:39.
American soldiers in Korea contributed to the funds which sent Bok Suh (at 5’ 1”, 115 lbs. one of the race’s smallest winners) to Boston. His effort eclipsed the five year old record (2:26:51) of Joe Smith, a runner who at 6’ 2” stood a full foot taller.
While Bok Suh engaged in a stern fight with Hietanen for the lead on Heartbreak Hill, a bounding fox terrier charged the little Korean and knocked him to his knees.
With one knee scraped and bleeding, the lacing on one shoe and his rhythm broken, Bok Sub leaped instantly to his feet, sprinted upgrade after the Finn, took the lead and never was headed.
Bok Suh’s record finish left him four minutes ahead of Hietanen, with Watertown’s Ted Vogel third with a fast 2:30:10.
1. Yun Bok Suh – Korea;
2. Mikko Heitanen – Finland;
3. Ted Vogel – Watertown, Massachusetts.