Boston Marathon Legend Dies at 80

Kelley was 8-time U.S. champ


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John J. Kelley, the winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon and the dominant American marathon runner of the 1950s, died early Sunday morning at his home in Connecticut of complications from melanoma. Kelley, who was 80, was also a two-time Olympian and an eight-time winner of New York’s Yonkers marathon, which also served as the U.S. marathon championships. Kelley’s death was first reported by long-time Runner’s World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, who trained under Kelley as a high school runner in Connecticut. Kelley shared his name with John A. Kelley, a two-time Boston winner, and was widely known as Johnny the Younger. An English teacher and high school cross country coach by profession, Kelley also finished as runner-up at Boston five times and held a personal best of 2:14:33, a time that would still have ranked him seventh in the United States last year.

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