Kelley's long run is over
BREWSTER -- Johnny Kelley's 61st Boston Marathon was his last.
"This is it -- I'm not going to run any more marathons," said the 84-year-old running legend yesterday after signing his biography, "Young at Heart," at the Brewster Bookstore.
Kelley made the decision last Monday in his hotel room after finishing his 58th Boston Marathon in 61 tries in 5:58:36.
"I've been thinking about it since last year," he said, "but I didn't finish well last year. It was raining and I fell down, and I didn't want it to end that way.
"This year, I went out with a bang. There were thousands of people in the grandstand greeting me, and I had a good race. My time was slow, and at some points near the end of the race I was walking. But my family was there with me and the crowds were great."
Kelley, who won the race in 1935 and 1945 and was runner-up seven times, was impressed with this year's winner, Ibrahim Hussein, who embraced Kelley after the race.
"I've never had any of the winners ever do that before," said Kelley.
Kelley, an East Dennis resident who has run 117 marathons, said he won't stop running.
"I'll run the 3- and 5-mile races, but not the marathons," he said. "I'll always be a part of the Boston Marathon, and maybe I'll run in from Heartbreak Hill or from BC. I'm a member of the BAA, and I'll always be a part of the race in some form or fashion as long as I live."
Kelley said his wife, Laura, has been worried about his running and, he said, "I don't like to have her worry.
"I was very tired last week. With the book signings and all the activity
from Thursday on, I never thought Monday would come."
Kelley said he would not miss running in the race because, "I'll always feel welcome. The crowds and the fans have always supported me."