Wednesday, April 20, 2016

V 6 N. 27 Boston Marathon Wrap and Gary Corbitt's Historical Analysis

By now, most of you know that the 2016 Boston Marathon served as the Ethiopian or should I say EPOpian Olympic trials.   I can say that in gest only because it is well known that Ethiopia does little or no drug testing of their athletes.  How could this cash strapped country expect to allocate precious resources to set up a testing lab in Addis Ababa and send technicians out to the hinterlands to find their hundreds of runners to get a blood or urine sample?  Home country testing is supposed to be the frontline of world wide drug testing expected to police the sport.   Assuming that that home testing is always going to be somewhat suspect in any country responsible for putting clean athletes on the starting line, the World Anti Doping Agency was set up to be the failsafe mechanism to assure us that when we buy a ticket to an international track meet or just turn on our TVs that we are watching a game being contested on a level playing field.  Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny , and international bankers are honest people who really care about others.

 Just a few comments on the race.  Can any of you without looking it up name the two winners?   Well they were Lemi Berhanu Hayle 2:12:45  and Atsede Baysa  2:29.18   The first time since 1986 a Boston area runner finished in the top ten, Zachary Hines was 10th  in 2:21:37.  The first American female was 9th placer Neely Spence Gracey in 2:35:00.     At first I was sad that there didn't seem to be any locals in the lead pack. Then I remembered that the Americans had just had their Olympic Trials, so that eliminated the possibility of seeing some sub 2:12 Yanks in the men's race.  Same for the women.  OK.  And as you will see below in Gary Corbitt's historical look at Boston, there were many years that Americans did not dominate the Boston Marathon.
So guys lets just suck it up and wait for next year when the homies will be back on the starting line at Hopikinton.   Lastly, the marathon proved once again the challenge to find commentators who can make the race interesting.  I had to turn the sound off to keep from changing the station and watching Let's Make a Deal.  Inane comments seem to be the norm in marathon broadcasting.  Can't the producers find a Dick Bank out there to spice things up?  When Larry Rawson started giving stats in the Metric System including the height and weight of runners, I knew this broadcast was not geared to the American public.  Also how many people watching that broadcast could relate to a minutes per kilometer pace?  I've been trying for years up here in Canada  and still can't make the transition.  Ok, we Yanks are  dumb on this, so to appeal to your dumb audience, let's dumb it down a bit, puleeeze.

Below is Gary Corbitt's most recent post on his great blog covering some of the most interesting bits  of Boston Marathon history.

Boston Marathon History
42 Years Ago Ted Corbitt (1919 – 2007)
4/15/74 Ted Corbitt’s last Boston Marathon at age 55 in2:49:16 was only 34 seconds slower than his first in 1951.  The patches and wires on his chest were for a medical experiment done by Joan Ullyot MD.  This was his 175thmarathon; including 22 Boston runs.

44 Years Ago in Boston Marathon History
Nina Kuscsik
4/17/72 Nina Kuscsik became the first official women’s winner of the Boston Marathon.  The women’s division had eight starters and finishers.
  1. 1.       Nina Kuscsik – 3:10:26
  2. 2.       Elaine Pederson – 3:20:35
  3. 3.       Kathrine Switzer – 3:29:51
  4. 4.       Pat Barrett- 3:40:29
  5. 5.       Sara Mae Berman – 3:48:30
  6. 6.       Valerie Rogosheske
  7. 7.       Ginny Collins – 4:04
  8. 8.       Frances Morrison

39 Years Ago
Marilyn Bevans
The First Lady of African American Long Distance Running
April 18, 1977 Marilyn Bevans finished second to Miki Gorman at the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:51:12.  102 women finished under 4 hours.  She would record her personal best marathon time of 2:49:56 in 1979 at Boston.

105 Years Ago  
Clarence Harrison DeMar – Mr. DeMarathon
(1888 – 1958)
4/19/11 Clarence DeMar wins his first of 7 Boston Marathons in a course record 2:21:39. The race had 127 starters.
4/19/30 Clarence DeMar age 41 wins his 7th Boston Marathon in 2:34:48.  The race had 216 entrants.

82 Years Ago
Augustus “Gus” Johnson
4/19/34 Augustus Johnson became the first known African American to finish in the top 20 in the Boston Marathon.  His time of 2:55:39 earned him 14th place overall.  A native of Lansing, Kansas, Johnson would go on to record top 20 finishes four more times between 1936 and 1940.

81 Years Ago
John Adelbert “Johnny” Kelley – Old Kelley ( The Elder)
(1907 – 2004)
4/19/35 John A. Kelley wins the Boston Marathon for the first time in 2:32:07 over Pat Dengis.  He would again win in 1945 in one of the fastest times in the world that year of2:30:40.
Old Kelley started in 61 Boston Marathons.  He had seven 2nd place finishes and was in the top 10 another 18 times.  He was a two time Olympian in 1936 and 1948 for the marathon. 

68 Years Ago  
Ted Vogel – 1948 Olympian
4/19/48 Ted Vogel places 2nd to Gerald Cote missing a Boston victory by a mere 44 seconds.  Cote winning time was the fastest time in the world for 1948 of 2:31:02.
Ted Vogel represented the first generation of track runners who moved into road running and changed the sport.  He along with track runners Charley Robbins, Tommy Crane, Bob Black, Clayton Farrar and Lou Gregory were part of a transformational period in the history of long distance running.

67 Years Ago
Louis C. “Lou” White – A Renaissance Sportsman
(1908 – 1990)
4/19/49 Lou White finished third at the Boston Marathon in2:36:48 and recorded the highest finish ever for an African American.  Representing the New York Pioneer Club, he would win national championships in 1950 & 1951 at 15K and 10 Miles. 

61 Years Ago
Nicholas George “Nick” Costes
(1926 – 2003)

4/19/55 Nick Costes finished third place and was the first American finisher in 2:19:57 at the Boston Marathon.  The course during these years was a bit short.
Nick Costes received his master’s degree in education from Boston University and went on to become a professor of kinesiology at Troy State University. Previously marathoners were laborers, bricklayers, miners, blacksmiths, milkmen, mailmen, and soldiers.  Now the marathon appealed to educated professionals.  Costes was considered a sports scholar.  In 1972 he published a book titled “Interval Training.”

56 Years Ago
Gordon McKenzie – “The Consummate Front Runner”
(1927 – 2013)
4/19/60 Gordon McKenzie of the New York Pioneer Club finished 2nd in 2:22:18 and was the first  American at the Boston Marathon. The 1960 Olympic marathon selection process included a point system based on performances at Boston and Yonkers.  Gordon would be selected for the 1960 Olympic team in the marathon.  He was also was a 1956 Olympian in the 10,000 meters.

53 Years Ago
Abebe Bikila  (1932 – 1973)
Mamo Wolde (1932 – 2002)
4/19/63 Abebe Biklia and Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia set Boston Marathon checkpoint records and were over 2 minutes ahead of the Boston course record at 18 miles.  They would finish 5th and 12th respectively.  This was Bikila’s first loss in a marathon.  There were 183 finishers.

Comment from Richard Trace,  Lakeside, OH, formerly of Oakwood, OH
This was the Boston run by legendary stumbler R. Trace.  I remember standing next to Bikila and Wolde before the start.  They were perfectly proportioned scale models of human beings.  About 7/8 scale.  Before 1/2 mile into the race they had faded away into the distance.  After I did see VanDendriessche and talked to him in the Lennox lobby.  Unassuming, modest guy.  When I got up the following morning sore and stiff, he was coming in from a run.  This was the only marathon lost by Bikila and I have never thought the 4 men who beat him got proper credit for doing so.  VanDendriessche, Kelley, Oksanen and Brian Kilby who wanted to go to Washington, D.C. because "the people there want to see me run".  Seeing the warm greeting between Oksanen and Kelley at the start has stuck in my memory.

50 Years Ago
Roberta Bingay “Bobbi” Gibb – Happy 50th Anniversary!
4/19/66 Bobbi Gibb at age 23 became the first female to complete the Boston Marathon in 3:21:40.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Bobbi’s groundbreaking run.  She was the Grand Marshall for this year’s race.  Her three first-place finishes previously relegated to an “Unofficial Era” in the event’s history will now be recognized as part of a “Pioneer Era,” along with Sara Mae Berman.

48 Years Ago
Ambrose “Amby” Joel Burfoot
4/19/68 Amby Burfoot wins the Boston Marathon in 2:22:17as Americans go first and second with Bill Clark in second place.  This is the first American win since John J. Kelley in 1957. 
Old John Kelley mentored Young John Kelley.
Young John Kelley was a mentor to Amby.
Amby mentored Bill Rodgers.
All these gentlemen were winners of this great race.

77 Years Ago
Ellison Myers “Tarzan” Brown
(1914 – 1975)
4/20/36 Tarzan Brown wins the Boston Marathon in 2:33:40. He would win again in 1939 with a course record of 2:28:51.
Tarzan Brown and Thomas Longboat (1907) are the only Native Americans to win this race. Tarzan was a Narragansett Native American with a tribal name of Deerfoot.

59 Years Ago
John Joseph Kelley -  Young Kelley (The Younger)
The Greatest American Distance Runner of his Era
(1930 – 2011)
4/20/57 John Kelley wins the Boston Marathon in record time of 2:20:05 over Finland’s Veikko Karvonen.  This was the first American winner since John A. Kelley in 1945.  Young Kelley would be runner-up at Boston on five occasions.
His eight consecutive national marathon titles at Yonkers (1956 to 1963) are unprecedented.   

52 Years Ago
Hal Higdon – An Original Running Renaissance Man
4/20/64 Hal Higdon was the first American finisher at the Boston Marathon placing 5th in 2:21:55.
Hal Higdon’s career spans all aspects of the sport of running’s development.  He was one of original architects that helped invent the sport.  He was a competitive athlete, running administrator and is a prolific writer. 

47 Years Ago
Sara Mae Berman
4/21/69 Sara Mae Berman finishes the Boston Marathon hand-in-hand with husband Larry.  She was the first female finisher in 3:22:46.  She would go on to win the Boston Marathon the next two years bettering the course record by 16 minutes in 1970 with a 3:05:07.
Sara Mae and Larry Berman were one of the country’s original running couples.  They were one of the original road race course measurers in the New England area.  Sara Mae was the first female officer for the Road Runners Club of America (1966-1967).

Sara Mae competed in her first road race in June 1964 as an unofficial entrant.  Her outstanding life was acknowledged in 2015 with an induction in the Road Runners Club of American Hall of Fame. 

Women Boston Marathon Champions:
1966: Roberta Gibb – 3:21:40
1967: Roberta Gibb – 3:27:17
1968: Roberta Gibb – 3:30:00
1969: Sara Mae Berman – 3:22:46
1970: Sara Mae Berman – 3:05:07
1971: Sara Mae Berman – 3:08:30
1972: Nina Kuscsik – 3:10:26

To learn more running history:
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Follow @corbittg on Twitter

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