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Sunday, August 21, 2011

John J. Kelley is Dead - Boston Marathon Legendary Runner

John J. Kelley
Personal information
Born 1930
John Joseph Kelley (born December 24, 1930 in Norwich, Connecticut, United States was the winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon and the marathon at the 1959 Pan American Games,[1] and a member of two United States Olympic Marathon teams. He is often dubbed John "The Younger" to avoid confusion with John A. "Johnny" Kelley "The Elder", the similarly named winner of the 1935 and 1945 Boston Marathons. (Contrary to popular belief, these two John Kelleys are not related.)
Career SummaryAn excellent competitive runner during his high school years at Bulkeley School in New London, Connecticut, Kelley began racing in marathons during his college years. From 1950 to 1954, he attended Boston University, a Massachusetts school located about a mile from the Boston Marathon finish line. While at Boston University, he would excel in team races and would run his first two Boston Marathons, in 1953 and 1954. He finished fifth in the 1953 race before following up with a 7th place finish the next year. After graduation from college, Kelley would finish 2nd in the 1956 Boston Marathon and made his way onto the U.S. Olympic Marathon team which competed in Melbourne, Australia during the same year. He would go on to win the Boston Marathon outright in 1957 while setting a new course record on the remeasured course. After his win at Boston, Kelley would win several other marathons including eight consecutive wins of the Yonkers Marathon in Yonkers, New York.[1] As a result of his record setting performance at Yonkers in 1960, he again found his way onto the U.S. Olympic Marathon team and competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He placed 21st and 19th in the Melbourne and Rome Olympic marathons respectively.

John J. Kelley's Boston Marathons

  • 1953 2:28:19 5th
  • 1954 2:28:51 7th
  • 1956 2:14:33 2nd
  • 1957 2:20:05 1st
  • 1958 2:30:51 2nd
  • 1959 2:23:43 2nd
  • 1960 DNF
  • 1961 2:23:54 2nd
  • 1962 2:28:37 4th
  • 1963 2:21:09 2nd
  • 1964 2:27:23 7th
  • 1965 2:25:23 14th
  • 1967 2:25:25 12th
  • 1968 2:37:03 15th
  • 1969 2:31:36 22nd
  • 1970 2:36:50 63rd
  • 1971 2:44:10 96th
  • 1972 2:40:05 79th
  • 1973 2:41:13 66th
  • 1974 2:32:18 78th
  • 1975 2:34:11 169th
  • 1976 2:46:43 154th
  • 1977 2:46:26 353rd
  • 1980 2:55:45
  • 1982 2:55:50
  • 1983 2:55:30
  • 1984 2:58:35
  • 1986 3:01:40
  • 1987 3:08:46
  • 1988 3:28:53
  • 1989 3:46:50
  • 1992 4:07:32


John J. Kelley is the only runner to ever win both the Boston Marathon and the Mount Washington Road Race, which he won in 1961. He made the ascent in one hour and 8 minutes 54 seconds, nearly seven minutes faster than the winning times in the three previous years the race had been held, 1936-1938.

Life Beyond Running

After the pinnacle of his career as a runner, he went on to a successful career as high school running coach. At Fitch High School in Groton, Connecticut, Kelley coached Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon. In addition to coaching, Kelley would find work over the years as a newspaper columnist, free lance writer, cab driver and running wear store co-owner. John Kelley married Jacintha C. Braga in 1953, and has three children, Julia, Kathleen, and Eileen.

  See also


  1. ^ Colaizzo, Pete; Hauman, Riel; Wilson, Maurice; Civai, Franco (2007-01-19). "Most Wins within a Single Race Series". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved 2007-01-23.

External links

Read Amby Burfoot's Runner's World tribute:

source: Wikipedia

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