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Boston Marathon History: 1941-1945

 

45th Boston Marathon - Saturday, April 19, 1941

Leslie S. Pawson captured his third Boston win with his fastest time (2:30:38) on a balmy, 72-degree day. Pawson, now 36, trailed former champions Gerard A. Cote, John A. Kelley, and Ellison M. Brown during the early miles. When Pawson made his move, only Kelley responded. The duo matched strides from miles 10 through 21, before Pawson pulled away at Lake Street. Crossing the line 48 seconds after Pawson, Kelley was runner-up for the fourth time in eight years.

1. Leslie S. Pawson (RI) 2:30:38
2. John A. Kelley (MA). 2:31:26
3. Don Heinicke (MD) 2:35:40
4. Gerard A. Cote (CAN) 2:37:59
5. Bernard Joseph (Joe) Smith (MA) 2:40:32
6. Fred A. McGlone (MA) 2:40:44
7. Andre J. Brunelle (MA) 2:43:28
8. John D. (Jock) Semple (MA) 2:47:26
9. Paul Donato (MA) 2:49:02
10. Joe Kleinerman (NY) 2:50:48

 

46th Boston Marathon - Sunday, April 19, 1942

Benefiting from a cold, 44-degree day, Medford milkman Bernard Joseph (Joe) Smith smashed Gerard A. Cote’s course mark and established an American record with a stunning 2:26:51. At six feet, two inches, Smith was the tallest runner ever to win the race until this time. Smith was ill the morning of the race and had to be talked into running by his wife. He grabbed the lead from runner-up Louis P. Gregory past the 21-mile mark, and forced the pace to the finish to eclipse the former record.

1. Bernard Joseph (Joe) Smith (MA) 2:26:51*+
2. Louis P. Gregory (NY) 2:28:03
3. Carl Maroney (MA) 2:36:13
4. Don Heinicke (MD) 2:37:24
5. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:37:55
6. Gerard A. Cote (CAN) 2:39:59
7. William Steiner (NY) 2:40:42
8. Michael J. O’Hara (NY) 2:41:08
9. Lloyd Bairstow (MA) 2:41:55
10. Joe Kleinerman (NY) 2:45:51

 

47th Boston Marathon - Monday, April 19, 1943

The first of two thrilling encounters between former champions Gerard A. Cote and John A. Kelley witnessed the pair running together for 21 miles. Although burdened by a strained Achilles tendon, Cote began to pull away entering Brookline and registered his second triumph in 2:28:25.

1. Gerard A. Cote (CAN) 2:28:25
2. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:30:00
3. Fred A. McGlone (MA) 2:30:41
4. Lloyd Bairstow (MA) 2:33:47
5. Leslie S. Pawson (RI) 2:35:58
6. Don Heinicke (MD) 2:38:52
7. William Wicklund (NJ) 2:41:46
8. Anthony Medeiros (MA) 2:44:17
9. Louis Young (MA) 2:44:44
10. Michael O’Hara (NY) 2:46:14

 

48th Boston Marathon - Wednesday, April 19, 1944

The much-anticipated rematch between Gerard A. Cote and John A. Kelley lived up to expectations and resulted in the third-closest finish to this point in race history. While Cote spent the afternoon in the lead pack, Kelley slowly worked his way to the front. Kelley finally caught Cote beyond Washington Square on Beacon Street, but Cote refused to yield sole possession of the lead. Seven times Kelley surged and seven times Cote answered. Finally, with less than a half-mile remaining, Cote surged and Kelley had no response. It was Cote’s third title (2:31:50) and Kelley’s sixth second-place finish.

1. Gerard A. Cote (CAN) 2:31:50
2. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:32:03
3. Charles A. Robbins, Jr. (NY) 2:38:31
4. William Wicklund (NY) 2:41:45
5. Lloyd Evans (CAN) 2:43:20
6. Don Heinicke (MD) 2:47:52
7. Bruno Mazzeo (ME) 2:49:06
8. Louis Young (MA) 2:49:18
9. John D. (Jock) Semple (MA) 2:51:34
10. Clayton Farrar (NY) 2:54:40

 

49th Boston Marathon - Thursday, April 19, 1945

The 37-year-old Johnny Kelley returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 10 years with a triumphant 2:30:40. Similar to his strategy of a year ago, Kelley was not among the early leaders, but slowly worked his way to the front. He caught guardsman Lloyd Bairstow in Coolidge Corner and accelerated to a two-minute, 10-second margin of victory at the finish.

1. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:30:40
2. Lloyd Bairstow (MA) 2:32:50
3. Don Heinicke (MD) 2:36:28
4. Robert S. Rankine (CAN) 2:38:03
5. Lloyd Evans (CAN) 2:39:43
6. Charles A. Robbins, Jr. (NY) 2:39:51
7. Louis Young (MA) 2:40:22
8. Anthony Medeiros (MA) 2:41:04
9. John D. (Jock) Semple (MA) 2:47:36
10. Ab Morton (CAN) 2:49:55

 

*Course Record
+American Record

 

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.