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By Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (wmurphy25@aol.com), used with permission.

This Day in Track & Field–April 19

1918–22nd Boston Marathon

Due to American involvement in World War I, the traditional Patriots’ Day race underwent a temporary change of format. A 10-man military relay race was contested on the course, and one of the teams from Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, bested the field in 2:24:53.

Camp Devens Divisional Team……..          2:24:53
302nd Infantry, Camp Devens ……..         2:28:10
Boston Navy Yard ………………………   2:28:45
301st Signal Battalion, Camp Devens       2:29:14
Naval Cadet School ……………………      2:29:23

To mark the event’s 100th Anniversary in 2018, military members representing each of the eight cities and towns along the course took part in a ceremonial relay to recreate the 1918 event and symbolize the B.A.A.’s Year of Service.

1939—Runners at the start of the 43rd Boston Marathon were greeted by a partial eclipse of the sun! Ellison “Tarzan” Brown went on to win in 2:28:51 on the point-to-point course, becoming the first American to break 2:30 for the distance.

Brown, a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island, also won the race in 1936.







1963Belgium’s Aurele Vandendriessche won the Boston Marathon in 2:18:58, breaking the course record of 2:20:03, set in 1957 by John (The “Younger”) Kelley, who finished 2nd(2:21:09) today. Vandendriessche, a 3-time Olympian, won his 2nd Boston title in 1964.

            Other notable finishers included Ethiopians Abebe Bikila (5th-2:24:43/the eventual 1960 and 1964 Olympic Champion), and Mamo Wolde (12th-2:38:09), Hal Higdon (13th-2:39:13), and Ted Corbitt 20th-2:39:28). From T&F News

Top 10https://marathonview.net/race/95324




1967—By signing her entry form “K. V. Switzer,” which is how she had always signed her name since she was 12 years old, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to receive a number in the Boston Marathon, which, at the time, only accepted entries from men. By her own estimate, Switzer finished in 4:20:00.

            The fiery Jock Semple, the race’s co-director, was made aware of Switzer’s presence about four miles into the race. As Switzer told author Gail Waesche Kislevitz in her book, “The Spirit of the Marathon” (http://tinyurl.com/yw639p),   “Jock was well known for his violent temper. He seethed for awhile, and then he erupted. He jumped off the (press) bus and went after me. I saw him just before he pounced, and let me tell you, I was scared to death. He was out of control. I jumped away from him as he grabbed for me, but he caught me by the shoulder and spun me around, and screamed, ‘Get the hell out of my race and give me that race number.’ I tried to get away from him but he had me by the shirt. It was like being in a bad dream. Arnie (Briggs) tried to wrestle Jock away from me but was having a hard time himself and then Tom (Miller), my 235-pound boyfriend, came to the rescue and smacked Jock with a cross body block and Jock went flying through the air. At first, I thought we had killed him. I was stunned and didn’t know what to do, but then Arnie just looked at me and said, ‘Run like hell,’ and I did as the photographers snapped away and the scribes recorded the event for posterity.”

A few years after this incident, Switzer and Semple went on to become great friends.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of her historic run, the 70-year old Switzer, ran in the 2017 Marathon wearing her original number—261, which was retired after the race. Switzer was joined in the race by many women wearing shirts that read, “261 Fearless”, the name of her running club!

In her Own Words: http://kathrineswitzer.com/about-kathrine/1967-boston-marathon-the-real-story/


50 Years Later

NY Timeshttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/sports/boston-marathon-kathrine-switzer.html?_r=0


CNN Interviewhttp://www.cnn.com/2017/04/17/us/boston-marathon-kathrine-switzer-trnd/




1968–Tennessee’s Richmond Flowers, Jr., who laughingly called himself the “fastest white boy alive”, beat Willie Davenport in the hurdles on two consecutive days. He first won on Davenport’s home track at the Pelican Relays in Baton Rouge, Louisiana(RF-13.3, 2.Harvey Nairn-Southern  13.5, 3. Davenport 13.7) and again the next day in Knoxville, Tennessee(RF-14.0, into a stiff headwind, Tommie Lee White-14.0, Davenport 14.0).

            Flowers, the 1968 NCAA Indoor Champion, seemed destined to win a medal at the 1968  Olympics later in the year, but he suffered a serious hamstring pull during a workout in early June, He recovered enough to make it to the final at the Olympic Trials, but failed to make the U.S. team after finishing 5th. Davenport went on to win the gold medal in Mexico City, with Erv Hall, whom Flowers had also beaten in the early part of the season, winning the silver medal.

            Despite missing the Olympics, Flowers was still ranked #6 in the world that year by Track and Field News and was #7 in 1969.

            Flowers was the son of Richmond Flowers, Sr., Alabama’s Attorney General from 1963-1967, a man who was unpopular in his state for his strong stand against segregation. A 2-sport star in high school, the son was recruited by legendary football coach Bear Bryant to play at Alabama, but he decided to attend Tennessee after his father was booed at a Crimson Tide game.

From “Legends of the Tennessee Vols” (by Marvin West):

“Two men with a private plane flew me to Louisiana for a Friday night race against Willie. He was to return with us for a Saturday meet at Tom Black Track(in Knoxville).” Two-thirds of the Tennessee delegation lost interest and pulled up short of the stadium gates.

            “There wasn’t a single white person in sight,” said Richmond. “I walked to the track alone. To tell you the truth, I was scared. The crowd may have been 15,000, and I was the only white face. There were catcalls and taunts and things thrown at me.”

            Flowers marched to the starting line with heart pumping. He ran a spectacular 13.3. “I just flat out beat his butt”, said Flowers.

            Davenport, a class act, responded with a congratulatory embrace. Jeers turned to cheers. Flowers got a standing ovation. Said (the modest) Flowers, “I think the crowd was already standing”.

            He has a framed letter, from the president of Southern University. It says, “Congratulations and thank you for what you did for race relations. It says sport finally transcended anger and hatred.” Said Flowers, “That letter is a treasure”.

Google Bookshttp://tinyurl.com/yey45dj



ESPN Classichttp://www.espn.com/classic/biography/s/Flowers_Richmond.html

Sports Illustrated Vault(1966): https://vault.si.com/vault/1966/06/06/winning-son-of-a-dedicated-loser

Flowers, Sr.: 

NY Times Obituary: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/11/us/11flowers.html