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Just Call Me Jock

The story of Jock Semple, Boston's Mr. Marathon.  
Written by Jock Semple with John J. Kelley and Tom Murphy.

Soft cover, 202  pages.  Autographed by Johnny Kelley

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John Duncan "Jock" Semple (1903-1988)  

Born in Glasgow, Scotland.  Jock was most famous for the episode in the 1967 Boston Marathon where he attempted to rip the race number off of Katherine Switzer, who had entered the men's only race illegally.  As the Boston Marathon unofficial Assistant Director from 1947 to the early '80's, Jock was much more than that.

As Amby Burfoot wrote in the introduction:

In this age of plastic men formed sometimes by Madison Avenue, sometimes by the contradictory forces of life, Jock remains cast in an original and unchanging mold.  He will never be packaged.  He does not recite lines from a Teleprompter.  His reactions spring from instinct and are expressed with a sputter and an instant opinion.  While others debated the Rosie Ruiz case, Jock instantly declared, "She's a fraud and a phony."

Filled with the inside stories of the world's greatest marathon, from Clarence DeMar to Bill Rodgers, Just Call Me Jock brings to life the most exciting era in American distance running.

An Excerpt

In 1957 Jock's dream came true, to have a BAA runner win Boston.  In an excerpt from the book, John J. Kelley describes the scene:

"Looking to chat away the endless minutes before the start, I found my good friends George Terry and Rudolpho Mendez.

Together, we made an American team as strong as any of the foreigners.  One of us might even win today.  We all knew that, but it would have been unconscionable to speak it.  After all, no American had won at Boston since John A. Kelley had prevailed in '45.  Twelve lean years.

George came up on it.  "Lads," he began, "I think one of us will take it."  We listened like fidgety school kids.  "Thing is, we have to decide who has the best chance.  Then two of us are going to have to set it up for him."   George was proposing that Americans run like Finns, Koreans, and Japanese.

In truth, I was too nervous to pay close attention to his proposal.  I did favor it on the principle of giving back some of what had been heaped on us over the years.  Today our foreign friends would have three Americans to watch instead of the usual one.

11:50: the corral gate was breached. The herd moved out, kicking and bellowing.  High Noon: BAA President Walter Brown fired a sawed-off shotgun heavenward.  

The 1957 stampede was on."

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