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Boston Marathon History: 1931-1935

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The Medford, Mass. milkman, Jimmy Henigan, got his long-awaited victory in his 10th Boston attempt with a time of 2:46:45. Henigan, one of the nation's leading cross-country and 10-mile runners, had finished second in 1928 but had dropped out in eight of his nine previous attempts. Hennigan dueled with Canada's Dave Komonen, before taking control on the Newton hills, and racing uncontested over the final miles.


Paul de Bruyn, a 24-year-old former sailor in the German Navy, outraced defending champion Jimmy Henigan over the two-mile stretch on Beacon Street to win in 2:33:36. The 39-year-old Henigan, who crossed the line just 56 seconds behind de Bruyn, followed the record-setting pace of Canada's John McLeod. Blisters caused McLeod to falter entering Cleveland Circle, and set the stage for the de Bruyn-Henigan stretch run.


Pawtucket, R.I. mill weaver Leslie Pawson scored the first of his three Boston wins with a convincing 2:31:01 record performance into a strong headwind. Pawson grabbed the lead from New Yorker John DeGloria on the first of the Newton Hills and went on to win by almost five-and-a-half minutes over Canada's Dave Komonen.


Finnish-born cobbler Dave Komonen of Ontario, Canada, prepared for the race by making his own running shoes. Heavily favored in an anticipated duel with defender Leslie Pawson, Komonen took the lead from New York's Bill Steiner at 13 miles and Pawson dropped out two miles later. The next eight miles saw the emergence of a young Arlington, Mass. runner by the name of John A. (Adelbert) Kelley. The local lad exchanged the lead with Komonen several times, before the Canadian pulled ahead for good at Cleveland Circle en route to a 2:32:53 victory. This was the first of Kelley's seven second-place finishes at Boston.


Runner-up the previous year, John A. Kelley, a florist's assistant from Arlington, roared to an impressive first-place finish in 2:32:07. Kelley took the lead in Wellesley, while defender Komonen dropped out shortly thereafter. On his way to a two-minute, four-second victory over Pat Dengis of Maryland, Kelley stopped briefly one mile from the finish in Kenmore Square. Overcome with nausea, he regurgitated before running on to victory.

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B.A.A. Moment 2

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.