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Boston Marathon History: 1926-1930

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A 20-year old delivery boy, John C. Miles of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, upset Olympic champion Albin Stenroos of Finland and course record holder DeMar. Miles ran in dogged pursuit of the Olympic champion, finally catching up with the gold medalist at Boston College, where Stenroos was slowed by a side stitch. Miles slashed four minutes from DeMar's 1924 record with a stunning 2:25:40 performance.


Although the course was lengthened to the full marathon distance of 26 miles, 385 yards, the finish was familiar as DeMar claimed his fifth title in 2:40:22. Just shy of his 39th birthday and running in 82-degree heat, DeMar led at every checkpoint en route to winning the race which served as the AAU title this year.


Aggressive racing by DeMar once again resulted in back-to-back victories and his sixth win as the field grew to 254 runners. DeMar took over in Natick, 10 miles into the race, with Philadelphia's Bill Wilson nagging at his heels until 18.5 miles. DeMar slowly pulled away, and crossed the line in 2:38:07, while celebrated miler Joey Ray finished third.


John C. Miles, the 1926 champion, returned with a course record performance of 2:33:08. The 23-year-old Miles, who had been forced to drop out at five miles in 1927 and didn't run in 1928, waged a tough battle with Whitey Michelson from miles 13 through 23 before pulling away on Beacon Street. Finnish runners Karl Koski and Willie Kyronen closed fast to catch Michelson in the final miles.


DeMar chalked up his seventh and final victory in 2:34:48 on a hot and humid afternoon. At age 41, DeMar became the oldest runner ever to win Boston. After following pace-setter Hans Oldag of Buffalo for 16 miles, DeMar began to pull away on the Newton Hills at record pace. He slowed in the final miles, thereby losing his bid for a course record, but easily finished ahead of runner-up Willie Kyronen.

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B.A.A. Moment 4

1935 John A. Kelley

Born in West Medford, Massachusetts as one of ten children, Kelley ran track and cross-country at Arlington High School in Massachusetts. He did not finish his first Boston Marathon in 1928, but eventually competed in a record 61 Boston Marathons. A legend of the marathon, Kelley won the 1935 and 1945 runnings of the Boston Marathon. He finished in second place at Boston a record seven times. Between 1934 to 1950, he finished in the top five 15 times at Boston, consistently running in the 2:30s. He ran his last full marathon at Boston in 1992 at the age of 84, his 61st start and 58th finish there.