Bill Rodgers (runner)

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Bill Rodgers
Bill Rodgers 1977.jpg
Bill Rodgers at the Amsterdam Marathon in 1977
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Henry Rodgers
Born (1947-12-23) December 23, 1947 (age 73)
Hartford, Connecticut, US
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight59 kg (130 lb)
Sport Long-distance running
ClubGreater Boston Track Club [1]
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 5000 meters : 13:42.00 [2]
10,000 meters : 28:04.42 [2]
Half marathon : 1:04:55 [2]
Marathon : 2:09:27 [2]
Medal record

William Henry Rodgers (born December 23, 1947) is an American runner, Olympian, and former record holder in the marathon. Rodgers is best known for his four victories in both the Boston Marathon, including three straight from 1978 to 1980, and the New York City Marathon, between 1976 and 1980.



Early life

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, the Rodgers family moved to Newington, Connecticut when Bill was around five. Rodgers attended Newington High School, where he played hockey and baseball, along with his older brother Charlie. When Newington High School added cross country as a sport in the fall of 1963, sophomore Bill Rodgers decided to join. Running track and cross country under coach Frank O’Rourke, Rodgers ran the mile in 4:28:8, won the 1965 Connecticut state cross country title and finished sixth in the New England Cross Country Championships. [3] He first ran a road race at the Manchester Thanksgiving Day 4.78 mile race in 1975. Despite his amazing success, he never won this famous race. [4]

Running career

In the fall of 1966, Rodgers enrolled at Wesleyan University where he ran cross country and track, graduating with a B.A. in sociology in 1970. One of his teammates and college roommate, Amby Burfoot, won the 1968 Boston Marathon while still a student at Wesleyan and went on to edit Runner's World magazine. Another teammate and friend was future Olympian Jeff Galloway, who is a noted author on running. [3]

After graduating in 1970, Rodgers enrolled to study and eventually receive his MS in special education from Boston College. After stepping away from competitive running for a time, in 1973, track coach Bill Squires first formed the Greater Boston Track Club at Boston College to train small group of local elite runners, with Rodgers becoming one of them. [3]

In April 1973, Rodgers entered his first Boston Marathon, dropping out at mile 20. After the race, Rodgers quit running for three months, only to return to training. Rodgers then won the Bay State Marathon in 2:28 in October 1973. [3]

In April 1974, Rodgers returned to run the Boston Marathon, finishing 14th. On October 29, 1974, Rodgers ran his first New York City Marathon, finishing fifth. One month after New York, Rodgers won the Philadelphia Marathon in 2:21. [3]

In 1975, Rodgers then burst into national prominence when he won the 1975 Boston Marathon in 2:09:55, setting a new American record. [3]

Rodgers won both the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon four times each between 1975 and 1980, twice breaking the American record at Boston with a time of 2:09:55 in 1975 and 2:09:27 in 1979. In 1977, he won the Fukuoka Marathon, making him the only runner ever to hold the championship of all three major marathons at the same time. He made the 1976 U.S. Olympic team and raced the marathon at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, finishing 40th in 2:25:14. He did not participate in the Olympics in 1980 due to the U.S. boycott over the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR. [1]

In 1975, Rodgers won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, equaling Tracy Smith's 1966 bronze in the International Cross Country Championships as the highest an American had ever finished in international cross country competition. Rodgers' most remarkable year on the road racing circuit came in 1978 when he won 27 of the 30 races he entered, including the Pepsi 10 km nationals (with a new world road 10 km best time of 28:36.3), the Falmouth Road Race, and the Boston and New York City marathons. Rodgers is also the former world record holder for 25 kilometers as he broke Pekka Päivärinta's world record with a time of 1:14.11.8 on a track at West Valley College in Saratoga, California in 1979. [1]

Track & Field News ranked Rodgers number one in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979. [1] Of the 59 marathons Rodgers ran, 28 were run under 2:15. In all, he won 22 marathons in his career. He came to be referred to by sportswriters and others as "Boston Billy". [5]

Rodgers was inducted to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame on December 3, 1999, in ceremonies in Los Angeles. In 1998, Rodgers was inducted in the first round to the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, New York.

Rodgers has run the Bix 7 road race in Davenport, Iowa, every year since 1980, earning the local nickname "Bix Billy". A bronze statue of Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson was erected near the Bix finish line in 2007. [6] [7]

On April 20, 2015, Patriots' Day, Rodgers was honored by the Boston Red Sox as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park. [8]

Bill Rodgers Running Center in Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston was owned and operated by Bill and his brother Charlie. The family-run business operated from 1977 to 2013. [9] He lives in the small town of Boxborough, Massachusetts, and still participates in running-themed events.


  1. 1973 Boston Marathon (Did not Finish)(DNF)
  2. 1973 Bay State Marathon (2:28:12) 1st Course Record (CR)
  3. 1974 Boston (2:19:34) 14th
  4. 1974 New York City Marathon (NYC) (2:36:00) 5th
  5. 1974 Philadelphia Marathon (2:21:57) 1st CR
  6. 1975 Boston (2:09:55) 1st American Record (AR)
  7. 1975 Enschede Marathon, Netherlands (DNF)
  8. 1975 Fukuoka Marathon (2:11:26) 3rd
  9. 1976 Olympic Trials (2:11:58) 2nd
  10. 1976 Montreal Olympics (2:25:14) 40th
  11. 1976 NYC (2:10:10) 1st CR
  12. 1976 Sado Island, Japan (2:08:23) 1st CR (200 meters short)
  13. 1976 Maryland (2:14:12) [10] 1st CR
  14. 1977 Kyoto, Japan (2:14:25) 1st
  15. 1977 Boston (DNF)
  16. 1977 Amsterdam, Netherlands (2:12:47) 1st CR
  17. 1977 Waynesboro (2:25:12) 1st
  18. 1977 NYC (2:11:28) 1st
  19. 1977 Fukuoka (2:10:55) 1st
  20. 1978 Boston (2:10:13) 1st
  21. 1978 NYC (2:12:12) 1st
  22. 1978 Fukuoka (2:12:53) 6th
  23. 1979 Boston (2:09:27) 1st AR
  24. 1979 Montreal (2:22:12) 15th
  25. 1979 NYC (2:11:42) 1st
  26. 1980 Boston (2:12:11) 1st
  27. 1980 Toronto (2:14:47) 1st
  28. 1980 NYC (2:13:20) 5th
  29. 1981 Houston-Tennaco (2:12:10) 1st CR
  30. 1981 Boston (2:10:34) 3rd
  31. 1981 Atlantica-Boavista, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2:14:13) 1st CR
  32. 1981 Stockholm, Sweden (2:13:28) 1st
  33. 1981 Bank One, Columbus, OH (2:17:34) 7th
  34. 1982 Houston (2:14:51) 5th
  35. 1982 Tokyo (2:24) 301st
  36. 1982 Boston (2:12:38) 4th
  37. 1982 Atlantica-Boavista, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (DNF)
  38. 1982 Melbourne, Australia (2:11:08) 1st
  39. 1983 Orange Bowl, FL (2:15:08) 1st
  40. 1983 Boston (2:11:58) 10th
  41. 1983 Beijing, China (DNF)
  42. 1983 Chicago (2:21:40)
  43. 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials (2:13:31) 8th
  44. 1985 New Jersey Waterfront (2:14:46) 2nd
  45. 1985 NYC (2:15:33) 7th
  46. 1986 Boston (2:13:35) 4th
  47. 1986 Chicago (2:15:31) 11th
  48. 1987 Phoenix (DNF)
  49. 1987 Boston (2:18:18) 15th
  50. 1987 NYC (2:25:01) 54th
  51. 1988 Phoenix (DNF)
  52. 1988 Los Angeles (2:20:27) 2nd masters
  53. 1988 Boston (2:18:17) 2nd masters
  54. 1988 NYC (DNF)
  55. 1989 Los Angeles (2:22:24)
  56. 1990 Boston (2:20:46) 5th masters
  57. 1992 Vietnam International 19th
  58. 1996 Boston (2:53:23)
  59. 1999 Boston (DNF)
  60. 2009 Boston (4:06:49) [11]

Awards and distinctions

Bill Rodgers, on right, at the Mount Dora 5K in 2019. Bill Rodgers Mount Dora 5K 2019.jpg
Bill Rodgers, on right, at the Mount Dora 5K in 2019.

Personal track records

Personal road records

Major road race wins

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Bill Rodgers Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine .
  2. 1 2 3 4 All-Athletics. "Profile of Bill Rodgers".
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bill Rodgers • The Daily Dose". October 21, 2015.
  4. "Rodgers Seeks Masters Record in Manchester Race".
  5. Powers, John (April 15, 2009). "26 more miles for Boston Billy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  6. Ritter, Sarah (July 28, 2018). "Another year in the Bix: 44th Quad-City Times Bix 7 'quite the sight'". Quad-City Times . Davenport, Iowa . Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  7. "1999". Quad-City Times.
  8. "Marathon runner Rodgers tosses first pitch" via
  9. conversation with Bill Rodgers
  10. "THE FOURTH ANNUAL MARYLAND MARATHON". Maryland Timing. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  11. Douglas, Scott (April 21, 2009). "Bill Rodgers Runs 4:06 in First Marathon in a Decade". Runner's World . Retrieved July 10, 2020.


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