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Boston Marathon History: 1946-1950


50th Boston Marathon - Saturday, April 20, 1946

The late Boston Globe sports editor Jerry Nason, the person responsible for documenting most of the written history of the Boston Marathon, called the 1946 contest the most significant race of all time. Running to dramatize the plight of his starving countrymen, Greek marathoner Stylianos Kyriakides hung gallantly onto Johnny Kelley and ran him down in the late stages of the race. The race was also significant because it heralded the dominance of international runners in future years. This was the final year that the large contingent of race vehicles was allowed on the course. In 1947, B.A.A. president Walter Brown would allow only three press buses along the route.

1. Stylianos Kyriakides (GRE) 2:29:27
2. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:31:27
3. Gerard A. Cote (CAN) 2:36:34
4. Louis P. Gregory (NY) 2:37:23
5. Ab Morton (CAN) 2:38:54
6. John Kersnason (NY) 2:41:20
7. Lloyd Evans (CAN) 2:43:02
8. Charles A. Robbins, Jr. (NY) 2:43:59
9. Theodore J. Vogel (MA). 2:44:24
10. Louis Young (MA) 2:44:38


51st Boston Marathon - Saturday, April 19, 1947

Korean Yun Bok Suh ran a world-best 2:25:39, marking the only time the men’s world record has been set on the Boston Marathon course. Suh, who was also the first Asian champion, and, at five feet, one inch, the shortest Boston champion to date, received funds from American servicemen to cover the cost of his trip to Boston. After overcoming a fall caused by a stray fox terrier, Suh took the lead from Finland’s Mikko Hietanen on the last of the Newton hills and ran unchallenged to the finish.

1. Yun Bok Suh (KOR) 2:25:39*#
2. Mikko Hietanen (FIN) 2:29:39
3. Theodore J. Vogel (MA) 2:30:10
4. Gerard A. Cote (CAN). 2:32:11
5. Ab Morton (CAN) 2:33:08
6. Athanasios Ragazos (GRE) 2:35:34
7. Sevki Koru (TUR) 2:37:50
8. E. David Mazzeo (ME) 2:38:03
9. Viano Muinonen (FIN) 2:38:59
10. Stylianos Kyriakides (GRE) 2:39:13


52nd Boston Marathon - Monday, April 19, 1948

The fourth and final of Gerard A. Cote’s victories was earned following a hard-fought battle with Ted Vogel of Watertown. Following an elbow-to-elbow duel during the first 23 miles - that on occasion bordered on the unsportsmanlike - Cote pulled away for a 44-second margin of victory in 2:31:02.

1. Gerard A. Cote (CAN) 2:31:02
2. Theodore J. Vogel (MA) 2:31:46
3. Jesse H. Van Zant (MA) 2:36:53
4. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:37:52
5. Ollie Manninen (MA) 2:39:59
6. Lloyd Evans (CAN) 2:41:05
7. Walter Fedorick (CAN) 2:41:23
8. Luis Velasquez (GUA) 2:41:27
9. E. David Mazzeo (ME) 2:43:15
10. Warren Dupree (USA) 2:43:42


53rd Boston Marathon - Tuesday, April 19, 1949

Unsure about his fitness, Sweden’s Karl Gosta Leandersson ran over the course 10 days before the race, unofficially breaking the course record and injuring his Achilles tendon in the process. But the Swedish champion recovered in time to post a two-minute, 52-second win in 2:31:50 over Victor Dyrgall. Leandersson’s lone scare came not in the form of another runner, but from a car that nearly sideswiped him as it unexpectedly entered the course in Auburndale (Newton) prior to the turn onto Commonwealth Avenue.

1. Karl Gosta Leandersson (SWE) 2:31:50
2. Victor Dyrgall (NY) 2:34:42
3. Louis White (MA) 2:36:48
4. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:38:07
5. Joe Smith (FL) 2:38:30
6. Gerard A. Cote (CAN) 2:42:55
7. Fran Austin (MA) 2:43:28
8. Thomas Jones (PA) 2:44:05
9. Andrew Neiding (NY) 2:44:31
10. Paul Collins (NY) 2:45:11


54th Boston Marathon - Wednesday, April 19, 1950

The extent of the international dominance began to deepen as the Korean contingent of Ki-Yong Ham, Kil Yoon Song, and Yun Chi Choi finished 1-2-3, respectively. Nicknamed “Swift Premium” by the race writers, Ham was ranked only third on the Korean team, behind their national champion and Olympian Choi. However, Ham, who built an overwhelming advantage between miles 12 and 21, walked four times along the final four miles, before finishing first in 2:32:39.

1. Ki-Yong Ham (KOR) 2:32:39
2. Kil Yoon Song (KOR) 2:35:58
3. Yun Chi Choi (KOR) 2:39:47
4. John Lafferty (MA) 2:39:52
5. John A. Kelley (MA) 2:43:45
6. Anthony Medeiros (MA) 2:47:15
7. Lloyd Bairstow (MA) 2:49:46
8. Paul Collins (NY) 2:50:12
9. Edo Romognoli (NY) 2:52:50
10. Kenneth O’Connell (OH) 2:56:42


*Course Record
#World Record


B.A.A. Moment 3

1966 - Bobbi Gibb

Although not an official entrant, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Joining the starting field shortly after the gun had been fired, Gibb finished the race in 3:21:40 to place 126th overall. Gibb again claimed the “unofficial” title in 1967 and 1968.