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Profiles


John Joseph Kelley
(The Younger)
(1930-2011)

1957 Boston Marathon Champion.  U.S. National Marathon Champion eight straight times, 1956-1963.  Two time Olympian. (1956 &1960)  Five second place finishes at Boston.  Pan American Games Marathon Champion in 1959.

Born in New London, Connecticut on December 24, 1930.  

Johnny attended Bulkeley High School in New London, CT where, after running a national record 4:21.8 mile his senior year, he was named top schoolboy miler in the country. As a freshman at Boston University in 1950, in seven cross-country meets he was undefeated and smashed five course records. 

Jock Semple's View of John

As Jock Semple wrote in his book, Just Call Me Jock :

"It was a long road from our marathons in the 1930's to Shorter's Olympic win in 1972, but I look at Johnny's 1957 Boston run as the pivotal event for the American marathon.  I see 1957 as the halfway point; Johnny took a stone and placed it down, so that Shorter and Rodgers could spring off it.  I'm happy to have held the blanket.  

Young John should be given more credit for creating the line of college runners in America that starts with himself and goes right up through Buddy Edelen to Amby Burfoot, Kenny Moore, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Craig Virgin and all the rest yet to come.  Before Johnny there was none of that.  There were only us 'plodders'."


The Olympics

In the Melbourne Games of 1956, John led the marathon for the first 12 miles. Suffering in the 85 degree heat, he finished 21st in 2:43:40.

In Rome, at the Olympic Games of 1960, John finished the marathon in 2:24:58, first American.


Johnny is confronted by a huge poster
of his past at the Expo for Boston's 100th.
Running Past Photo

See Johnny run! Click here for video of the 1961 Boston Marathon.

  John's Boston Marathon Record     Born December 24, 1930

Year           Time       Place
1953          2:28:19      5
1954          2:28:51      7
1956          2:14:33      2     Course was 1183 yards short
1957          2:20:05      1     Course Record
1958          2:30:51      2
1959          2:23:43      2
1960          DNF
1961          2:23:54      2
1962          2:28:37      4
1963          2:21:09      2
1964          2:27:23      7
1965          2:25:23     14
1967          2:25:25     12
1968          2:37:03     15
1969          2:31:36     22
1970          2:36:50     63  

Year           Time        Place
1971          2:44:10      96
1972          2:40:05      79
1973          2:41:13      66
1974          2:32:18      78
1975          2:34:11     169
1976          2:46:43     154
1977          2:46:26     353
1980          2:55:45    1232
1982          2:55:50    1621
1983          2:55:30    2127
1984          2:58:35    2121
1986          3:01:40    1274 
1987          3:08:46    2304
1988          3:28:53    3568
1989          3:46:50    3428 
1992          4:07:32    5863           

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