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Kelley to be inducted into Distance Running Hall of Fame

By Jim Greenidge, Globe Staff, 4/12/2002

The National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, N.Y., will honor four inductees in July, including John "The Younger" Kelley, who competed in 34 Boston Marathons from 1949-92.

Also earning induction are the late Browning Ross, a founding member of the Road Runners Club of America and publisher of Long Distance Log; the late Bill Bowerman, who coached at the University of Oregon; and Doris Brown Heritage, the cross-country coach at Seattle Pacific University the last 22 years.

New Englanders are most familiar with Kelley, a staple of the Boston Marathon, the winner of the 1957 race and second-place finisher five times before his final race in 1992 at age 61.

"I shouldn't have run in 1992; I wasn't really fit enough," admitted Kelley. "I was trying to go out and beat men in their 30s, something I shouldn't have tried."

In Kelley's first Boston Marathon, as an 18-year-old in 1949, a couple drove by him sitting on a curb along the course and offered to bring him to the finish line on Exeter Street.

"I could hardly even walk after that race," he said.

The next day, Kelley took the bus back home to New London, Conn., to take part in a 1-mile run at his high school. But Kelley only placed second.

"My coach expected me to win the race," he said.

"I learned in my first Boston Marathon that you just have to run for one person, and not for others that day," Kelley said. "Back then, I learned so much about running faster through what the Europeans were doing -- having plenty of rest, rather than going out and running all the time."

Kelley's class brings the number of Hall inductees to 21.

"This is an outstanding class of runners and coaches, and they also have brought the business aspect to the sport," said John Petrone, who has been the Hall's co-director since it opened five years ago.

The Hall of Fame is dedicated to athletes who have brought the sport of distance running the sort of recognition it deserves. The induction is annually held the second Saturday of July, the night before the Boilermaker 15K road race in Utica.

"It has become a tradition that the announcement be made as part of the festivities celebrating the country's oldest annual marathon," said Petrone.

"We couldn't be happier to be [in Boston] and make this important announcement just prior to this glorious race."

Two members of the elite field -- Lahoucine Mrikik of Morocco and Ari Ichihashi of Japan -- have dropped out because of injury. Mrikik, who was to make his Boston debut, hurt his back. Japanese officials said Ichihashi wasn't in proper condition to make her Boston debut... The Boston Athletic Association is honoring four Boston legends at its Champions Breakfast tomorrow. Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, who ran neck-and-neck for the last 9 miles of the 1982 race before Salazar won, will be honored along with 1982 wheelchair champion Jim Knaub and 1992 women's champion Olga Markova.

The weather forecast is looking up for race day, at least from a runner's perspective. Early reports said it might warm into the 70s, which would be a bit hot to post a fast time. But now expectations are for early clouds with a west wind and a high in the low 60s. The last time it was this warm for a Boston Marathon was in 1999, when it was 68 at the finish ... Three-time champion Uta Pippig and race director Dave McGillivray will give prerace tips tomorrow from 1-3 p.m. at the Sports Club/LA. Space is limited to 100 runners. To attend, call 617-375-8588.

Reid Laymance of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

This story ran on page F10 of the Boston Globe on 4/12/2002. Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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