Saturday, February 28, 2009

RUNNING WITH A LEGEND

During the 1980's and 1990's I used to be active running in various road races on Cape Cod. These races would be generally held on weekends in the various towns and would have different distances depending on the race course layout with a few of the races being held very near my home in Dennis Port.

One memorable race participant was Johnny A. Kelley, aka as "Mr. Marathon". John was born in 1907 and died on October 7,2004. A Dennis resident, John was most associated with The Boston Marathon as he ran that famous race a record 61 times; finished 1st in 1935 and 1945, and 2nd a record seven times.John participated in the 1936 Munich Olympics which were hosted by Adolph Hitler and finished 18th in that Olympic Marathon. John was named the runner of the century. John was active in the local road race circuit. I have run the Johnny Kelley 5K and 10K Road Races in Hyannis a few times.

John also ran frequently in the Dennis Road Race which ended at the Johnny Kelley Memorial Recreation Center in South Dennis. I can remember running in this race and seeing him pass me on the course when he was a youngster of about 85 years of age. He always had a sunny disposition. When this particular race was finished and we were gathered near the pavilion which bore his name for the awards ceremony and prize drawings the runners would say "Johnny, sing us a song!". John then would sing the song "Young at Heart".

Some people say that the streets of heaven are "paved with gold". I hope you brought a comfortable pair of running shoes with you as you travel your journey through the highways and byways of your afterlife adventures.