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Boston Marathon History: 1916-1920

20th Boston Marathon - Wednesday, April 19, 1916

Local boy Arthur V. Roth of Roxbury ran a triumphant 2:27:16 to win the race. The 23-year-old draftsman broke from the field at 10 miles and built a three-minute, 17-second lead as the runners headed into the Newton hills. Runner-up Willie Kyronen of New York put on a late burst over the final six miles, but was still 11 seconds shy at the finish. Completely exhausted, Roth collapsed as he breasted the tape and had to be assisted from the finish area by race officials.

1. Arthur V. Roth (MA) 2:27:16
2. Willie Kyronen (NY) 2:27:27
3. Sidney H. Hatch (IL) 2:28:30
4. James J. Corkery (CAN) 2:30:34
5. William Brown (MA) 2:34:18
6. William J. (Bill) Kennedy (IL) 2:35:17
7. John P. Phillips (NY) 2:39:39
8. Arthur Lee Jamieson (CAN) 2:41:09
9. Michael J. Lynch (DC) 2:41:22
10. George B. Moss (NY) 2:43:39


21st Boston Marathon - Thursday, April 19, 1917

New York bricklayer Bill Kennedy stunned a highly competitive field that included Finnish favorites Hannes Kolehmainen and Willie Kyronen. The oldest winner of the race to date at age 35, Kennedy overtook the Finns at the halfway juncture in Wellesley. He withstood a brief challenge from Hans Schuster at Newton Lower Falls, before claiming victory in 2:28:37 over runner-up Sidney H. Hatch. The race marked the reappearance of Clarence H. DeMar, who ran for the first time since his victory in the 1911 race and placed third in 2:31:05.

1. William J. (Bill) Kennedy (NY) 2:28:37
2. Sidney H. Hatch (IL) 2:30:19
3. Clarence H. DeMar (MA) 2:31:05
4. Hannes Kolehmainen (NY) 2:31:58
5. Charles Mellor (IL) 2:36:20
6. Hans Schuster (NY) 2:37:28
7. Carl W. A. Linder (MA) 2:38:38
8. Michael J. Lynch (DC) 2:40:06
9. Prescot M. Dean (NY) 2:44:28
10. Leroy Davis (MA) 2:44:28


22nd Boston Marathon - Friday, April 19, 1918

Due to American involvement in World War I, the traditional Patriots’ Day race underwent a temporary change of format. A 10-man military relay race was contested on the course, and one of the teams from Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, bested the field in 2:24:53.

1. Camp Devens Divisional Team 2:24:53
2. 302nd Infantry, Camp Devens 2:28:10
3. Boston Navy Yard 2:28:45
4. 301st Signal Battalion, Camp Devens.2:29:14
5. Naval Cadet School 2:29:23
6. 304th Infantry, Camp Devens 2:32:20
7. Bumkin Island 2:37:20
8. U. S. N. Radio School 2:44:26


23rd Boston Marathon - Saturday, April 19, 1919

Another local runner took home top honors as the race returned to its traditional format following the war. Quincy’s Carl W. A. Linder, the New England javelin and decathlon champion, who had been rejected for military service because of flat feet, was victorious in 2:29:13. With less than two-and-a-half miles remaining, Linder passed Chicago’s Frank Gillespie, who had led from the Natick checkpoint. Gillespie, his feet a mass of blisters and blood from his new racing shoes, could not respond to Linder’s challenge. Runner-up William Wick, at 4 feet, 10.5 inches, was the shortest person to finish the Boston course to date.

1. Carl W. A. Linder (MA) 2:29:13
2. William Wick (MA) 2:30:15
3. Otto J. Laakso (NY) 2:31:31
4. Frank Gillespie (IL) 2:36:44
5. Michael J. Lynch (DC) 2:36:58
6. Aaron Morris (NY) 2:37:31
7. Peter Trivoulidas (GRE) 2:38:10
8. Runar Ohman (SWE) 2:41:38
9. Anastas K. Sturgis (MA) 2:51:15
10. Henry Kanto (MA) 2:51:53


24th Boston Marathon - Monday, April 19, 1920

Greek national Peter Trivoulidas, a New York busboy, was running in eighth place, three minutes behind leader James P. Henigan, as he entered the Newton hills. Meanwhile, 1916 winner Arthur V. Roth of Roxbury overtook Henigan, who was beset with cramps and eventually withdrew from the race. Roth again tried to steal the race by building up a large lead. However, when he again began to falter near Kenmore Square, Trivoulidas surged and easily overtook Roth to win in 2:29:31.

1. Peter Trivoulidas (GRE) 2:29:31
2. Arthur V. Roth (MA) 2:30:31
3. Carl W. A. Linder (MA) 2:33:22
4. William Wick (MA) 2:34:37
5. Edwin H. White (NY) 2:36:10
6. Robert Conboy (NY) 2:37:34
7. Frank T. Zuna (NJ) 2:39:34
8. Clifton Mitchell (NY) 2:41:43
9. John Tuomikoski (MA) 2:43:06
10. Runar Ohman (SWE) 2:43:41


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