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Boston Marathon History: 1911-1915

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Clarence H. DeMar, competing against the wishes of doctors who told him not to run due a heart murmur, smashed Tom Longboat's course record with a superb 2:21:39 performance. This was the first of DeMar's seven Boston wins. However, heeding medical advice, he would not compete again until 1917. DeMar trailed the leaders by upwards of 250 yards before finally pulling away from halfway leader Festus Madden at Newton Centre.


U.S. Olympic-bound marathoner Mike Ryan of New York ran through a mud and slush-soaked course to finish first in 2:21:18, and take 21 seconds off DeMar's one year-old record. Ryan was content to let Yale freshman Johnny Gallagher set the early pace. As Gallagher tired near Cleveland Circle, Andrew Sockalexis, a young Indian runner from Old Town, Maine, took over the lead. Ryan caught Sockalexis two miles from the finish and won by 34 seconds.


For the second consecutive year, the "Maine Indian" Andrew Sockalexis was the runner-up. Knowing that he had raced too hard in the early going the previous year, Sockalexis let Swedish-born Fritz Carlson set the early pace. Carlson was four minutes ahead of Sockalexis with four miles remaining when the runners hit Cleveland Circle. Carlson held off a valiant rush by Sockalexis over the final few miles to win the race in 2:25:14.


The Canadians were again on top as James Duffy from Hamilton, Ontario, defeated countryman Edouard Fabre from Montreal by just 60 yards in 2:25:01. On an overcast and humid day, Fabre wrested the lead from Finnish-born New Yorker Willie Kyronen on what would become known as Heartbreak Hill leading to Boston College. Duffy followed in close pursuit, and during the stretch run on Beacon Street in Brookline the lead changed four times between Duffy and Fabre before Duffy pulled away for the narrow victory.


On another unseasonably warm day, French-Canadian Edouard Fabre overcame the 84-degree temperatures to win in 2:31:41. With one third of the starters dropping out, Fabre, who finished second the year before, ran behind the lead runners in the early going and did not take the lead until Kenmore Square, one mile from the finish. Fabre passed Cliff Horne, a Haverhill, Mass. resident, who had taken over the lead with just 2.3 miles remaining. Horne began to wobble from the effects of the intense heat and Fabre ran past him for the victory.

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B.A.A. Moment 1

1920 - Ashland Start

The Boston Marathon began in Ashland, Massachusetts from 1897 through 1923 then moved to Hopkinton for the 1924 race. The course was lengthened to 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to the Olympic standard, and the starting line was moved west from Ashland to Hopkinton. Since then, the race has started in Hopkinton every year.