John Duncan "Jock" Semple
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.
In 1957 Jock's dream came true,
to have a BAA runner win Boston. In an excerpt from
the book, John J. Kelley describes
"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
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
The 1957 stampede was on."