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Boston Marathon History: 1961-1965

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1961

Eino Oksanen roared back after a year's absence for his second victory in 2:23:39. Battling a chilling wind and a temperature of 39 degrees, the trio of Oksanen, Kelley and England's Fred Norris charged into Newton Lower Falls at a quick pace. Just before the hills, a stray black dog charged onto the course and sent Kelley sprawling onto the pavement. Norris stopped to assist Kelley, who regrouped quickly to briefly catch Oksanen on the Newton Hills. Oksanen's strength proved too much for Kelley, who crossed the lined 15 seconds back as runner-up for the fourth time.

1962

Eino Oksanen captured the last of his three Boston wins with a 2:23:38 performance on a cold and rain-soaked afternoon. Oksanen finished one minute, 20 seconds ahead of countryman Paavo Pystynen (2:24:58) after taking the lead from him near Boston College. John J. Kelley finished fourth, nearly five minutes behind Oksanen.

1963

All eyes focused on the 1960 Olympic Marathon champion Abebe Bikila, of Ethiopia, who went on to win gold in 1964, and countryman Mamo Wolde, the 1968 Olympic Marathon winner. The duo two forged a record-setting pace for the first 18 miles, before Bikila (fifth) and Wolde (ninth) fell victim to a sudden cold east wind and the Newton hills. Belgium's Aurele Vandendriessche saw his opening, and rushed home with a course record of 2:18:58. Again, John J. Kelley finished in the runner-up spot, while defending champion Eino Oksanen finished fourth.

1964

As the field exceeded 300 runners for the first time, defending champion Aurele Vandendriessche successfully defended with a 2:19:59 performance. The lean Belgian attacked the Newton Hills in strong fashion, eventually pulling away from the Canadians and Finns who were engaged in dictating the pace.

1965

It was 10 years since a Japanese runner had last won the Boston Marathon. Morio Shigematsu, who lowered the course record to 2:16:33, led an unprecedented finishing contingent that saw the Japanese finish 1-2-3-5-6. Defending champion Vandendriessche finished fourth to prevent the clean sweep. This was the first B.A.A. Marathon in more than 40 years not to finish on Exeter Street by the Hotel Lenox. Beginning this year and continuing for the next 20, the finish line would be located two blocks away on Boylston Street, in front of the Prudential Building.

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B.A.A. Moment 2

1935 John A. Kelley