1947
The smallest Boston winner and the first of many Orientals who would leave their mark at Boston, 5’1” Korean Yun Bok Suh raced to a course record and world best performance of 2:25:39.
American servicemen contributed funds for his trip to Boston.
Along the way, Suh overcame a fall caused by a Fox Terrier that wandered onto the course. Soon after, Suh took over the lead from Finland’s Mikko Hietanen on the last of the Newton hills and ran unpressed to the finish.

1. Yun Bok Suh — Korea;
2. Mikko Heitanen — Finland;
3. Ted Vogel — Watertown, Massachusetts.

 

1948
The fourth and final of Gerard Cote’s victories was earned after a hard-fought battle with Watertown’s Ted Vogel.
Following an elbow-to-elbow duel during the first 23 miles that on occasions threatened to erupt into a skirmish, Cote pulled away from Vogel over the final miles for a 44-second victory in 2:31:02.

1. Gerard Cote — Quebec;
2. Ted Vogel — Watertown, Massachusetts;
3. Jesse Van Zant — BAA.

 

1949
Unsure about his fitness, Sweden’s Karl Gosta Leandersson ran over the course ten days before the race, unofficially breaking the course record and injuring his Achilles tendon in the process.
But the Swedish champion recovered in time to post a three-minute, eight-second win in 2:31:50 over Vic Dyrgall after nearly being hit by a car.

1. Karl Gosta Leandersson — Sweden;
2. Victor Dyrgall – United States;
3. Louis White.

 

1950
The extent of the foreign dominance at Boston began to deepen as the Koreans, led by Kee Yong Ham, finished 1-2-3.
Kee, who was given the nickname of “Swift Premium” by the race writers, was ranked only third on the Korean team, behind their national champion and Olympian Yun Chil Choi.
Kee walked several times during the final four miles after building up a huge lead between miles 12 and 21, finishing in 2:32:39.

1. Kee Yong Ham — Korea;
2. Kil Yoon Song — Korea;
3. Yun Chil Choi — Korea.

 

1951
Japan’s 19-year-old Shigeki Tanaka upset his favored countrymen and Greek national champion Athanasios Ragazos to win in 2:27:45.
One of the race’s youngest winners, Tanaka — a Hiroshima native — provided an exciting and swift run over the Newton hills to finish 3 1/2 minutes ahead of American John Lafferty (2:31:15).

1. Shigeki Tanaka — Japan;
2. John Lafferty – United States;
3. Athanasios Ragazos — Greece.

 

1952
On a scorching 88-degree day, Indian runner Doroteo Flores of Guatemala survived the wretched heat to win by almost five minutes in 2:31:53.
Flores, a laborer in a Guatemala mill, took the lead from countryman Luis Velasquez near the 10-mile mark in Natick.
Appearing undaunted by the oppressive conditions, Flores breezed through the remainder of the route to finish ahead of American Victor Dyrgall.

1. Doroteo Flores — Guatemala;
2. Victor Dyrgall – United States;
3. Luis Velasquez — Guatemala.

 

1953
Once again the course record fell – this time to the lightest winner ever to capture the Boston race.
Japan’s Keizo Yamada (5’2″, 108 pounds) shed the leaders on Heartbreak Hill and finished 28 seconds ahead of Finland’s Veikko Karvonen. Yamada was clocked at 2:18:51.
Sweden’s Karl Gosta Leandersson, the ’49 winner, provided a record-setting pace for the first 19 miles with Veikko Karvonen and Yamada giving chase.

1. Keizo Yamada — Japan;
2. Veikko Karvonen — Finland;
3. Karl Gosta Leandersson — Sweden.

 

1954
Runner-up the previous year, Finland’s Veikko Karvonen upset a stellar field that included world record-holder Jim Peters of England, Japanese champion Karau Horoshima, Finnish champion Erkki Puolakka and American AAU champion John J. “The Younger” Kelley (no relation to John A. “The Elder” Kelley).
Peters forged a strong pace during the middle third of the race with Karvonen closely in tow.
As Peters’ effort gave way to severe leg cramps in West Newton, Karvonen carried the lead over the final miles to win by just over two minutes in 2:20:39.
Olympic champion Delfo Cabrera, Argentina, finished sixth.

1. Veikko Karvonen — Finland;
2. Jim Peters — England;
3. Erkki Puolakka — Finland.

 

1955
A Japanese speedster lowered the record once again. Hideo Hamamura staged a great run over the final half of the course.
Hamamura came from 10th position to take the lead from American Nick Costes just over three miles from the finish.
Hamamura finished in 2:18:22, bettering the old record set by countryman Keizo Yamada in 1953 by 29 seconds.

1. Hideo Hamamura — Japan;
2. Eino Pulkkinen — Finland;
3. Nick Costes – United States

 

1956
The Finns were once again on the attack as Sgt. Antti Viskari, a Finnish soldier, defeated former Boston University standout John J. Kelley by 19 seconds as the first four finishers smashed the existing course record.
Viskari pulled away from Kelley during the final mile after the two had waged a fierce duel since the halfway mark.
Because of the fast times, the course was re-measured and found to be 1,183 yards short due to road repairs and changes since 1951.

1. Antti Viskari — Finland;
2. John J. Kelley — Groton, Connecticut;
3. Eino Oksanen — Finland.

 

1957
John J. Kelley snapped a streak of eleven foreign wins with an accurately measured course record performance of 2:20:05.
This was the first win by an American since the 1945 victory of John A. “The Elder” Kelley.
Kelley disposed of a host of foreign competitors near 16 miles and won by almost four minutes. The last to lose contact was ’54 champion Veikko Karvonen as Kelley became the first member of the host BAA to win the event.

1. John J. Kelley — Groton, Connecticut;
2. Veikko Karvonen — Finland;
3. Chung Woo Lim — South Korea.

 

1958
A foreign runner once again found the finish line ahead of the field as Yugoslavian Franjo Mihalic, the ’56 Olympic runner-up, ran to victory in 2:25:54.
Almost five minutes behind was John J. Kelley, who finished in 2:30:51, the second of his five runner-up performances at Boston.
Mihalic survived the 84-degree day to become the first and only Eastern European champion at Boston.

1. Franjo Mihalic –Yugoslavia;
2. John J. Kelley — Groton, Connecticut;
3. Eino Pulkkinen — Finland.

 

1959
The Finns continued to show their dominance in the running world as Helsinki police detective Eino Oksanen, third in the ’56 race, claimed the first of his three Boston wins.
On a rainy and cool 42-degree day, John J. Kelley led from the halfway mark in Wellesley to the final mile before Oksanen pulled away for a 61-second victory with a time of 2:22:42.
Oksanen, who was dubbed the “Ox” for his bullish strength in the stretch, withstood numerous surges by Kelley in the final miles of the race to earn the win.

1. Eino Oksanen — Finland;
2. John J. Kelley — Groton, Connecticut;
3. Jim Green — Massachusetts.

 

1960
With Eino Oksanen not returning to defend his title, Finnish countryman Paavo Kotila won this U.S. Olympic trials race in 2:20:54.
Kotila left the competition ten miles into the race for a virtual solo run to the finish.
Kotila’s winning time was the second fastest ever on the re-measured course. New York’s Gordon McKenzie made a late rush to finish second (2:22:18) and Jim Green of the host BAA finished third.

1. Paavo Kotila — Finland;
2. Gordon McKenzie — New York;
3. James Green — Massachusetts.

 

1961
Eino Oksanen roared back after a year’s absence for his second victory in 2:23:39, finishing just 15 seconds ahead of John J. Kelley.
Battling a chilling wind and a temperature of 39 degrees, the trio of Oksanen, Kelley and England’s Fred Norris charged into Newton Lower Falls at a very quick pace.
It was here a stray black dog charged onto the course and sent Kelley flying into the pavement. Norris stopped to assist Kelley to his feet.
Kelley rebounded and caught Oksanen for a brief period on the Newton hills. But Oksanen’s strength was too much for Kelley, who had to settle for the runner-up position for the fourth time.

1. Eino Oksanen — Finland;
2. John J. Kelley — Groton, Connecticut;
3. Fred Norris — England.

 

1962
Eino Oksanen captured the last of his three Boston wins with a 2:23:48 performance on a cold and rain-soaked afternoon.
Oksanen finished 70 seconds ahead of countryman Paavo Pystynen (2:24:58) after wresting the lead from him near Boston College.
John J. Kelley finished fourth, nearly five minutes behind Oksanen.

1. Eino Oksanen — Finland;
2. Paavo Pystynen — Finland;
3. Lt. Alex Breckenridge — U.S. Marines.

 

1963
All eyes focused on the 1960 Olympic marathon champion — Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (who also won the gold in 1964) and countryman Mamo Wolde (the 1968 Olympic marathon winner) as the two forged a record-setting pace for the first 18 miles.
But as Bikila (5th) and Wolde (9th) fell victim to the sudden cold east wind and the Newton hills, Belgium’s Aurele Vandendriessche rushed home with a course record 2:18:58.
Again, John J. Kelley finished in the runner-up spot as defending champion Eino Oksanen finished fourth.

1. Aurele Vandendriessche — Belgium;
2. John J. Kelley — Groton, Connecticut;
3. Brian Kilby — England.

 

1964
As the field exceeded 300 for the first time, defending champion Aurele Vandendriessche successfully repeated with a 2:19:59 performance.
The lean Belgian attacked the Newton hills in strong fashion, eventually pulling away from the Canadians and Finns who were engaged in dictating the pace.

1. Aurele Vandendriessche — Belgium;
2. Tenho Salakka — Finland;
3. Ron Wallingford — Canada.

 

1965
It was tenyears since the Japanese had last broken the finish tape at Boston. Mario Shigematsu, a 24-year-old student, led an unprecedented finish by a foreign contingent. The Japanese finished 1-2-3-5-6, with Shigematsu lowering the course record to 2:16:33.
Defending champion Vandendriessche finished fourth to prevent the clean sweep.
This was the first BAA Marathon not to finish on Exeter Street by the Lenox Hotel. Beginning this year and continuing for the next 20, the finish line would be located two blocks away on Boylston Street, in front of the Prudential Building.

1. Morio Shigematsu — Japan;
2. Hideaki Shishido — Japan;
3. Takayuke Nakao — Japan.

 

1966
Once again the Japanese runners made a shambles of the field as they convincingly swept the first four places.
Japanese champion Toru Terasawa was the heavy favorite but was upset by countryman Kenji Kimihara who came from fourth in the last two miles to grab the victory wreath in 2:17:11.
Roberta Gibb Bingay became the first woman to run and successfully complete the race, finishing in 3:21:40. She ran unofficially as women were not officially recognized until 1972.

1. Kenji Kimihara — Japan;
2. Seiichiro Sasaki — Japan;
3. Toru Terasawa — Japan.

 

1967
New Zealander Dave McKenzie led a record field of 601 starters while setting a course record of 2:15:45. Dartmouth College alumnus Tom Larris finished second with the fastest American time (2:16:48) over the Boston course to date.
Roberta Gibb finished first again (unofficially, of course) in 3:27:17. But attention focused on Katherine Switzer, who obtained a number by entering as “K. V. Switzer.” This did not set well with the race officials and as John “Jock” Semple attempted to remove her number in mid-race, he was cut down by Switzer’s burly boyfriend. Pictures of the incident were seen around the world.

1. Dave McKenzie — New Zealand;
2. Tom Larris — California;
3. Yutaki Aoki — Japan.

 

1968
Wesleyan University student Amby Burfoot gave American runners their first victory in ten years as the field grew to a record 900 runners.
Burfoot, coached by former winner John J. Kelley, finished in 2:22:17 in the warm 72-degree sunshine.
Burfoot made his move against U.S. Marine Bill Clark over the final five miles to earn a 38-second victory.
Roberta Gibb (unofficial again) was the leading female finisher in 3:30:00. A total of three women finished the race this year.

1. Ambrose Burfoot — Connecticut;
2. Bill Clark — U.S. Marines;
3. Alfredo Penaloza — Mexico.

 

1969
The field topped the thousand mark for the first time (1,150 starters). This was the final year the race would be open to any and all runners. In the coming years, race officials would establish a qualifying time for entry into Boston.
Japan once again raced to the forefront as Yoshiaki Unetani unleashed a superlative effort in taking down Dave McKenzie’s course record by nearly two minutes in 2:13:49.
Unetani ran alone over the final nine miles as Mexican runners Pablo Garrido (2:17:30) and Alfredo Penaloza (2:19:56) finished second and third, respectively.
Three women finished unofficially, led by Sara Mae Berman from Cambridge in 3:22:46.

1. Yoshiaki Unetani — Japan;
2. Pablo Garrido — Mexico;
3. Alfredo Penaloza — Mexico.

 

1970
On a wet and rain-soaked, 44-degree day, Englishman Ron Hill made a shambles of Unetani’s year-old mark with a stunning 2:10:30 course record.
In the process, Georgetown alumnus Eamon O’Reilly lowered the American record to 2:11:22, which was also under Unetani’s previous mark of 2:13:49.
The entry qualifying time of four hours (or the equivalent at shorter distances) only succeeded in reducing the field to 1,011 starters.
Sara Mae Berman of Cambridge was again the unofficial women’s winner in 3:05:07.

1. Ron Hill — England;
2. Eamon O’Reilly – Washington, DC;
3. Pat McMahon. — Massachusetts/ Ireland.

1. Sara Mae Berman — Cambridge;
2. Nina Kuscsik — New York;
3. Sandra Zerrangi.

 

1971
The field dipped to 887 starters this year as race officials lowered the qualifying standard to 3 hours, 30 minutes.
The race turned out to be one of the closest finishes ever at Boston as Columbian Alvaro Mejia and Pat McMahon, a Massachusetts resident and Ireland native, dueled almost the entire way before Mejia pulled away less than 150 yards from the finish for a five-second victory.
Mejia was clocked in 2:18:45 and the first American, John Vitale, finished fourth. The unofficial women entrants were again led by Sara Mae Berman who finished in 3:08:30.

1. Alvaro Mejia — Columbia;
2. Pat McMahon — Ireland/ Massachusetts;
3. Johnny Halberstadt — South Africa/ Oklahoma State.

1. Sara Mae Berman — Cambridge;
2. Nina Kuscsik — New York;
3. Kathy Switzer — New York.

 

1972
The women received official sanctioning this year as New Yorker Nina Kuscsik
became the first official women’s winner at Boston with a 3:10:26 performance.
It had been ten years since a Finnish runner had led the Boston field. Olavi Suomalainen, a 25-year-old student, continued his country’s strong tradition at Boston by pulling away from Columbia’s Victor Mora near Boston College to lead a field of 1,081 starters in 2:15:39.

1. Olavi Suomalainen — Finland;
2. Victor Mora — Columbia;
3. Jacinto Sabinal — Mexico.

1. Nina Kuscsik — New York;
2. Elaine Pederson — California;
3. Kathy Switzer — New York.