Running his 1934 conquerer, Dave Komonen, into the smooth macadam at the
halfway mark in Wellesley, standing up nicely to a challenge offered by Pat
Dengis in the belt-buckle stages, then simply outracing that stern-visaged
opponent over the courage-testing Newton Hills, little Johnny Kelley of
Arlington, 28-year-old florist's assistant, yesterday fashioned a
tremendously popular victory in the 39th Boston A.A. Marathon from Hopkinton
Blessing himself as he sped on spindly legs through a howling mob at
Exeter st., the game Irishman completed the 26 miles, 385 yards of one of the
stiffest courses in the world in 2 hours, 32 minutes, 7 2-5 seconds, the
second fastest time ever recorded for the present route.
But Kelley, who finally left the remnants of a field of 190 runners
strewn all over the course and unmercifully lashed all but the dogged Dengis,
who finished 400 yards behind, didn't strike a tapeless finish line in first
position until after he'd given the veteran Marathon fans at Kenmore sq. the
heart throb of a lifetime.
There, obviously safe in the 400-yard lead he had constructed over
Dengis, Kelley stopped smack in the center of Beacon st. as the wild applause
which greeted his choppy, ground-devouring stride died to a hush and rose in
volume to a disappointed ``Ooooooooh.''
``Kelley is done up.''
But no: Johnny, doubled over in distress, was merely endevouring to
relieve his stomach of the glucose which he had been taking to excess in
tablet form, for stimulation. Meanwhile, on came the blue-shirted Dengis,
eating up the yards which separated him from the nauseated leader.
Up straightened the little man from Arlington and broke into a run.
Hardly had he taken 10 strides before he had halted again as the hundreds
lining the drop from Beacon st. into Kenmore sq. pleaded with him, begged him
to go on. This time Johnny unceremoniously rid himself of that which bothered
By this time the onrushing Dengis was within 250 yards of the
jet-thatched leader. But Kelley, much relieved, swung back into his flowing
stride to increase over the final miles his advantage.
Undoubtedly the delay cost Kelley a record run because, in taking the one
means by which to prevent stomach cramps with victory in sight he whittled
from his time, conservatively, one and one-half minutes. And at the end he
fell shy of Leslie Pawson's record of 2:31:01 3-5 by only 1m, 5 3-5s.
The Baltimore powerhouse, Dengis, crashed through the finish in 2:34: 11
1-5. Fresh as the proverbial daisy, he encircled his fair bride of 12 months
with his manly arms and planted upon her beaming face, a series of loud and
How soundly these two men, Kelley and Dengis, trounced the field may be
gathered from the third place taken by Dick Wilding of Ontario, the first of
the fistful of Canadians to finish. He was more than five minutes in the rear
of the swarthy Baltimore racer.
Kelley covered a half mile as the leader [in Wellesley] before Komonen
amazed all by stopping to walk, dead at the college drive, a breath out of
Wellesley sq. In a jiffy Dengis and McMahon, still engaged in their
pleasantries, surged by him. Shortly after that, the Finn conceded the race.
Almost simultaneous with Komonen's unexpected cave-in, Dengis shook
himself loose from McMahon and closed in on Malm and Kelley. In fact, he
closed in too fast, because 200 yards later, just outside Wellesley sq., he
split Kelley and Malm with a wild burst of speed to take over the lead.
This was fatal to Dengis' chances, as he later admitted, for in sprinting
he brought himself one of those knifing cramps under the heart which he had
to fight off right to the finish. The arrival of this new foe took the starch
out of Malm, and Kelley pulled away to chase the plunging reckless Baltimore
On the flowing, level stretch to Wellesley Hills, he caught him and here
a two-man race was given birth. Side by side they ran until the deep drop
from Wellesley Farms to Newton Lower Falls. On that long slope into Newton,
Kelley gradually constructed a lead which was as much as 25 yards at the
bottom of the hill.
From there on, with the inviting finish in Boston 10 miles away, Kelley
turned on the heat determined to blast Dengis from the race. It was a slow
process, because Pat was full of fight. Up and down the wicked grades on
Commonwealth av. Johnny gave him the works. Up the mountain side to Brae
Burn, Johnny didn't gain an inch, but over the flat to Newton City Hall and
up the next hillock beginning at Bulloughs Pond in Newtonville, he gained
results - a 100-yard lead.
By the time Johnny had finished paddling the trousers off those grades
and was gliding from Boston College down to Lake st., he was well established
300 yards in front, looking fit as a fiddle and prancing along as he sniffed
a clean-cut triumph.
Uneventful except for the related incident at Kenmore sq. were the five
miles from Lake st. to the finish. It was Johnny's day. He made the most of
it. He will never boast of it. He isn't built that way!