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John A. Kelley

Inducted: 1980, athlete

Born: September 6, 1907 - West Medford, Massachusetts

marathon - 2:30:41

A marathon runner whose career spanned an amazing eight decades, John A. Kelley competed in two Olympic Games and was deprived of two other opportunities because of World War II. Kelley made his first Olympic appearance in 1936 and was 18th in the marathon. He was one of the few veterans of the 1936 Games who also competed in 1948, placing 21st that time. He also was selected to the 1940 Olympic team but those Games were cancelled by war. He narrowly missed being chosen for a fourth time in 1952, at the age of 44. Kelley ran the Boston Marathon an astonishing 61 times from 1931 until 1992, finishing 58 of those races and winning that famed event in 1935 and 1945. His time of 2:30.41 led the world in 1945 and he had the second-best time during several other years. During his long career, he competed in 115 marathons covering a 64-year period. His running career began at Arlington High School, where he competed in track and cross country and completed his best-ever mile in 4:40. On a national level, he was an 11-time AAU champion in four events, including the marathon (1948 and 1950), 15,000 meters (1937 and 1954); 20,000 meters (1943 and 1954), and 25,000 meters (1937 and 1941-1944).

1936 Olympics: marathon (18th)
1948 Olympics: marathon (21st)
1937 AAU: 15,000 m (1st)
1937 AAU: 25,000 m (1st)
1941 AAU: 25,000 m (1st)
1942 AAU: 25,000 m (1st)
1943 AAU: 20,000 m (1st)
1943 AAU: 25,000 m (1st)
1944 AAU: 25,000 m (1st)
1948 AAU: marathon (1st)
1950 AAU: marathon (1st)
1954 AAU: 15,000 m (1st)
1954 AAU: 20,000 m (1st)

high school: Arlington (Arlington, Massachusetts)

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