It took 12 years and a school teacher named John J. Kelley
to teach the foreign Marathon celebrities a lesson.
Running softly, but carrying a big stick, little John of Gaelic
ancestry, yesterday chased the Finns, Japanese and Koreans
off the B.A.A. course to become the town's golden boy.
When the traditional wreath of laurel was perched jauntily
on his yellow head at Exeter St., the 26-year-old B.U. alumnus
stood adorned as America's first victor since 1945 ... when
John the Elder Kelley last won the race.
In halting the foreign flood which has raged unabated during the interval, Kelley made a remarkable
run of 2h. 20m. 5s. down the sunbaked roads from Hopkinton.
His clocking established a record for the historic perambulation, since this year the route was extended
1187 yards at the Hopkinton extremity to make it a valid 26 miles, 385 yards.
His judgement of pace was almost supernatural. "I feel that two hours, 20 minutes will be necessary,"
he ahd said at noon, just prior to striking out in his dedicated effort. "That is my plan."
Necessary? It was almost superfluous! He broke away from Korea's troublesome Sung Chul Han and Finland's
Veikko Karvonen with 10 miles to run.
Karvonen-the world's greatest winner of 14 marathon races all over the globe, including this race
in '54-had beaten him by 16 minutes in Melbourne's blazing beat last December.
Little John's retribution was final--because yesterday's was Karvonen's third and last run for
the B.A.A.'s laurel wreath.
But yesterday out on the hot roads leading down from rural Hopkinton, Little John became a "take
charge" man of the marathon.
Against the finest field, undoubtedly, ever assembled at the start-Three Koreans, three Japanese,
two Finns, two Mexicans-fully aware that Karvonen was a giant among global winners. Kelley ran
a to-hell with them race.
For three miles he ran behind the Koreans, the Finns, and the Japanese. At Framingham, six miles
long, he joined them. At Natick he closed in on Han, Karvonen, Lim and Sadanaga of Japan and ran
through the square abreast of them. At Wellesley, halfway home, only Han and Karvonen were still
with him ... and he was soon to make his forceful move that muscled them right out of the Marathon
From a technical point of view, Little John ran himself a flawless Marathon race ... carefully
paced, fully controlled and with a subtle hoarding of his resources on a very warm (71 degrees)