Boston Lead up 2024

It’s early —Boston Marathon still 29 days away. I will be sharing the historic events recognizing the important individuals the humble individuals the champions and the challengers.

This photo encapsulates everything the Boston Marathon means to me and more. John A Kelley 2 time winner finished 60 Boston’s— former Grand Marshal for the event—of course.

I challenge the Boston media to cover the important heroes of our sport —-help people understand why the race as an athletic event built over a century is the heart—-don’t let all the conflicting interest of money making— filling hotel rooms and charities coffers distract us from our iconic event.

More to come.

If you love the marathon and are not aware please take a moment to read:

Round 2

It’s early —Boston Marathon still 26
days away. I will be sharing the historic events recognizing the important individuals the humble individuals the champions and the challengers.

Long Before the East African dominance began in the early 90’s the world’s best marathoner Abebe Bikila and his protege Mamo Wolde competed here.

Although we fans are always hoping for an American to win show or place we need to remember regardless of nationality to celebrate excellence at our marathon.

One World.

Let’s examine this phenomenon of East African dominance from many angles. What does it take these days for an athlete to put themselves in a position to win at Boston.

This fascinates me not how much money was raised fundraising or every other entrant running for a cause —God Bless them.

Time capsule this report on the marathon from the then leading sports publication.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Round 3

Weeks to go until this year’s Boston Marathon and I am remembering—hope I’m not alone —the great champions of yesteryear—today Cosmas Ndeti a three time champion. I have a framed photo of Cosmas greatest marathon winner name ever, hanging in my “office” named his son Boston.

This framed photo formerly hung in the former Eliot Lounge.

I think perhaps Cosmas marks the point at which the winners of the race were becoming more anonymous. Ibrahim Hussein proceeded Cosmas as a three time winner and first African winner but I feel he was well known had competed often went to University of New Mexico.

According to an article cited by Wikipedia on Cosmas he was the first Kenyan to serve a drug suspension in 1988 for ephedrine.

Knowing that —-well —our sport is doing everything it can to create level playing field right? Testing is rigorous and fair?

What you think missy —mister?

Tough for today’s athletes the cheaters have the upper hand.

Cosmas seemed to me what little I know a very upstanding and honorable gentleman.

I only wish we knew him better.

For Cosmas:


Round 4

Continuing with our lead up to Boston recognizing our historic athletes and figures. A bit of muck racking I apologize for ahead of time.

Humble Boston Marathon history co-opted by many conflicting interest stealing the heart from the great winning athletes and contenders who made her.

The history of the great race is everything our strength. This is our race all us impassioned individuals who have been captivated caught up in its spell.

It’s been a short one hundred years long— hop —skip —jump from a few hundred eccentric iconic brave runners to this inscrutable future.

We built this race, not the BAA. You want to invent an award a “ Patriot Award”

“presented to a person or organization who is patriotic, philanthropic, and inspirational, and fosters goodwill and sportsmanship.”

why not award it to one of our own so many worthy individuals.

Better yet how about an Ellison Brown award in recognition of his historic achievements awarded periodically to an athlete who has overcome discrimination and poverty. A Gloria Ratti award for her many years of love and service a Coach Billy Squires award the greatest marathon coach of champions locally and nationally.

Why is the BAA inventing a Patriot Award and awarding it to Baseball and Football players when running/racing excellence is their bread and butter?

They seem to be ashamed by the $million-s they hand out in appearance fees or services contracts to recruited athletes and won’t reveal the details but they hand a newly made up award to a former pro footballer who is worth $45 million—-and make him the race grand marshal.

So many tragedies in this world —feel a bit silly debating the history —future of a classic race .

But here we are.

Remember when honors were bestowed appropriately:

In 2005 : Jacqueline Gareau is Grand Marshal

“Twenty-five years later, race officials are bringing her back to break the tape April 18.
Gareau will be the grand marshal for the 109th edition of the race, successor to two-time champion Johnny Kelley, who died last fall. She will not complete the course but will instead ride in a pace car, run the last block and finish first — for certain this time.”

“It’s going to be a symbolic thing. But for me, they did already enough,” Gareau said from her native Montreal. “It will be very, very exciting. When it happens, I will probably get goose bumps.”


Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running.

Committed to a world where all people can access and benefit from running and an active lifestyle.

Running key words.



Billy Squires:

Take Me Back:

Round 5

Boston Marathon history revisited—hoping the BAA does something to recognize a true pioneer 50 years on.

As I have pointed out in rounds 1-4 my feelings regarding the naming of a pro footballer as the marathon’s grand marshal round 5 simply ask “what about our races history?” Our star iconic athletes.

Don’t forget.

Miki Gorman

Let the wind carry me:

Round 7

Boston Marathon Lead Up Continuing plea to honor our marathon heroes as Grand Marshal’s for the event and not pro athletes from other sports.

Should be a no brain-er but here we are.

Today let’s give a shout out to the media that have known and covered this marathon for years. There aren’t many of them left. Does the BAA even have an award for outstanding media coverage? No Joe Concannon Award no Jocko Connoly Award?

Today a shout out to Toni Reavis who moved to Boston in the mid seventies arriving in a milk truck or a postal truck or something like that with all his belongings to start a new life with a voice born for radio and the looks for it too.

Toni decided to get into media and Toni loved Athletics and he merged these two to become the singular go to guy to cover our event on radio in print or on the golden screen of local television in Boss-Town.

Toni has been honored by the New York Road Runner’s Club with the George Hirsch Journalism Award—Boston needs to bestow some honors on him as well.

For the second year in a row Toni will not been in Boston for the marathon and that is a pity. The BAA moved to a different media outlet in 2022 and Toni was left out of their broadcast team.

This is akin to Johnny Most being left out of Celtics coverage or Curt Gowdy being left out of baseball coverage it just would never happen.

Toni knowledge of our sport and Boston in particular demand he be here if only our sport the BAA and USATF had any marketing media mechanism to assure our best chroniclers and historians were taken care of and here doing what they do best.

Tomorrow Boston media will cover the unveiling of a statue to Spencer the dog in Ashland on the marathon course.

Yes Spencer died and he was a huge marathon fan.

We have more love and attention for a dog who watched the race and barked than we do for the actual racing and athletes the race was created for.

I’ll bet there was a dog around barking at the first Boston Marathon in 1896, where is his statue?😀

It’s tough watching the degradation of a beloved event but I just can’t look away.

I think about being young and inspired by those iconic runners the ones who grew our sport all so it could become a parade paying tribute to a dog while sweeping its history into the dustbin.

Toni telling it:

Boston Marathon

“Jumping the Shark”

“I heard a fly buzz, when I died”

Round 8 in recognition of the athletes and administrators and visionaries who built our race questioning what it has become and where is it going as a professional sport in particular. All of these rounds prompted by the naming of a pro footballer as the grand marshal for the event the second year in a row a pro athlete from another sport with no real connection to marathoning, is so honored.

Two more weeks until Boston we will have a few more rounds possibly but at this time I want to mention a couple of important histories of our race that you might peruse at your local library or better purchase for your instant edification.

“Boston Marathon Traditions & Lore”

“Boston Marathon Year by Year”

In 1979 I had a somewhat unexpected breakthrough race in the Boston Marathon—and all my dreams came true. My own running career began and ended during the exponential growth of the great race and the sport of road racing and athletics. The great running boom. The last time I competed at Boston in 1986 was the first time they offered prize money.

The marathon was an amateur event run on a shoestring budget but it was respected throughout the world for its history and excellence the holy grail.

As athletes we only wanted to be fairly treated and allowed to run for cash prizes so that we could survive and be on a par with other sports but also to compete on a level playing field with countries whose athletes were state sponsored meaning that athletics was not a side bar for them it was their job.

In the late seventies there began a new era of professionalism different from the very early days of the sport when there were also some professional races. Before professionalism became possible without losing your amateur status, there was appearance money being paid to the top competitors under the table off the books etc. and there were sponsorships from shoes companies mainly that supported the top athletes.

In 1986 Boston finally got a big time sponsor John Hancock and began offering prize money but paltry compared to other pro sports. It wasn’t that they didn’t have the money it was because they decided they would offer personal services contracts to the athletes they invited, something the athletes were comfortable with as that was how it was done before prize money was allowed.

This invited money paid by the Hancock/BAA has always been a super secret which seems unnecessary and wrong—a kind of deception. More importantly it has hurt our sport which should be offering at least $1 million dollar first prize with the open field monies going 50 deep. That would be a pro sport where the fans and the public would know what is at stake. Every time a pro athlete signs a contract everyone asks how much? But not at the Boston Marathon.

The qualifying for Boston is much too fast for the invited runner field which run essentially their own race and is much too slow for everyone else. Charity runners should have to meet the qualifying standards and not be allowed to purchase their way in on behalf of a business.

Boston should have a pro event for the top echelons and put on charity events for the hordes. Running as a sport has done a lot for charities but what do the charities do for our race? You tell me it creates more runners but for the most part they have no interest in our sport all they accomplish is running from one place to another at a pedestrian pace. Not a sport.

Television is critical but a much better product than is currently offered.

There are others who may articulate all of this much better and of course I myself could write hundreds of pages about our sport and why it is dying in front of our eyes. But the ship has sailed and the Fonz jumped the shark:

Still I won’t look away.

Boston Marathon 2024

Last Round

Heart & Soul

For previous rounds 1-9:

And related:

I have been perusing a small booklet put together on Boston by “Runner’s World” magazine in 1972. At that time the qualifying standard was 3:30 and that was for everyone. Women were not allowed to run the race officially as AAU Rules declared they were not eligible and race director Will Cloney and his man on the ground Jock Semple enforced this.

The race was closing in on 2,000 entrants and the qualifying time was one way to limit the entries. Today of course the technology to organize and track the many waves of runners has allowed a ten fold increase—even so many would be entrants do not make the cut.

The qualifying times in the 1980’s would become even faster but the number of entrants still continued to grow to near 10,000 in 1979.

Jock in 1972–”The 3:33 and 3:35 guys, I’ll let in. They have a fair shot at 3:30. But you have to set a limit. I honestly think that setting the 3:30 time limit has improved marathoning the country over, despite the cries from the 5 hour men. Boston has helped to develop more marathons and improve the caliber.”

“Personally, though, I’d rather have a hundred women who can run under 3:30 than the pot-bellied guys we have. If it were declared legal for women to run I would be the first to welcome them.”

“I don’t want it to be a race of “class” runners. It will never be that. It’ll always be open for legitimate marathoners, but must be limited to them.”

Also from the editor Joe Henderson:

“Regardless of how it may appear, Semple, Cloney and company are intensely interested in marathoning and marathoners—the Boston marathon in particular. They want to keep the race manageable for the runner, not let it degenerate into a Woodstock-like happening.

They were prescient.

I always thought that marathoning would continue to improve in this way –the leading times but also the depth of performance. Boston hit a high water mark on the mens side in 1983 with nearly 100 under 2:20, most of them Americans. In 1973 there were only a handful under that mark.

The East African runners had been coming to the colleges in the United States for years but not many had taken on the marathon or road arcing circuit in general. That changed overnight with the advent of prize money and the availability of appearance money.

The African dominance has been debated, I believe their strengths are their environment and their poverty—that is where the hunger and spirit and attitude and soul begin.

Boston qualifying has not kept pace with what they should be to keep it as Jock would say for “serious, legitimate” runners.

As a consequence the depth of the race has seriously declined.

Today we have a race of “class” runners that Jock and Will never wanted it to become and the Woodstock happening that they never wanted to see. And not much in between.

In addition to all of this Boston has continued to invite the top athletes and sign them to what I understand to be rather large personal service contracts and appearance money to guarantee their participation.

The prize money purse for the open fields is paltry compared to other pro sports and now only goes 10 deep less than 1986 when prize money was first rewarded.

The focus has become less and less on the professional race as the coverage is less than mediocre and gets worse each year as the media cover the race from other angles leaving the pro race out.

If the public knew what was at stake and what was at stake was a $1 million dollar first prize that would bring the attention back where I think it should be—on the race.

The BAA could be trend setters in this regard but they seem reluctant to consider it, ashamed maybe to reward the top athletes as other sports do.

Darned if I know why?

The race for me will always be the heart and soul and the “happening” for me I see no there, there.

You got the silver: