Bill Rodgers (runner)

Last updated

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
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.

Contents

Biography

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.

Marathons

  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

Related Research Articles

New York City Marathon American race

The New York City Marathon is an annual marathon that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 53,627 finishers in 2019 and 98,247 applicants for the 2017 race. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.

Joan Benoit American distance runner

Joan Benoit Samuelson is an American marathon runner who was the first women's Olympic Games marathon champion, winning the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She held the fastest time for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon for 32 years after winning the race in 1985. Her time at the Boston Marathon was the fastest time by an American woman at that race for 28 years. She was inducted into the Maine Women's Hall of Fame in 2000.

Alberto Salazar Cuban-born American long-distance runner, and later, track coach

Alberto Salazar is a former American track coach and long-distance runner. Born in Cuba, Salazar immigrated to the United States as a child with his family. They moved to Manchester, Connecticut, and then to Wayland, Massachusetts, where Salazar competed in track and field in high school. Salazar is known for his performances in the New York City Marathon in the early 1980s and his 1982 Boston Marathon victory known as the "Duel in the Sun" and for the controversial end to his coaching career. He held American track records of 13:11.93 for 5,000 m on July 6, 1982 in Stockholm, Sweden and 27:25.61 for 10,000 m on June 26, 1982 in Oslo, Norway.

Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopian long-distance runner

Haile Gebrselassie is an Ethiopian retired long-distance track and road running athlete. He won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 metres and four World Championship titles in the event. He won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively and also had three straight wins at the Dubai Marathon. Further to this, he won four world titles indoors and was the 2001 World Half Marathon Champion.

Frank Shorter American long-distance runner

Frank Charles Shorter is an American former long-distance runner who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics and the silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. His Olympic success, along with the achievements of other American runners, is credited with igniting the running boom in the United States during the 1970s.

Amby Burfoot American marathoner

Ambrose Joel "Amby" Burfoot is a former American marathoner whose peak competitive years came in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was the winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon. After retiring from competition, he became a running journalist and author. Burfoot was editor-in-chief at Runner's World for many years, and both writes for the magazine and serves as its editor-at-large.

Ryan Hall (runner) American long-distance runner

Ryan Hall is a retired American long-distance runner who holds the U.S. record in the half marathon. With his half marathon record time (59:43), he became the first U.S. runner to break the one-hour barrier in the event. He is also the only American to run a sub-2:05 marathon. However, this time is not eligible to be a record due to the course being point-to-point and a net-downhill course. Hall won the marathon at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials and placed tenth in the Olympic marathon in Beijing.

Michiko "Miki" Suwa Gorman was an American marathon runner of Japanese ancestry. Gorman did not begin running competitively until she was in her mid-30s, but rapidly emerged as one of the elite marathoning women of the mid-1970s. She is the only woman to win both the Boston and New York City marathons twice and is the first of only two woman runners to win both marathons in the same year.

Jerome Drayton is a former long-distance runner who competed internationally for Canada. He was born as Peter Buniak in Germany, and came to Canada in the mid-1950s when his mother moved there after divorcing his father. He reportedly based his new name on two famous sprinters he admired: Canadian former world record holder Harry Jerome and American Paul Drayton, former world record holder in the 4 × 100 m as part of the American relay team. However, Drayton has denied this, stating that he chose Jerome because it was a name he had always liked, and Drayton because he thought the two names fit well together. A prominent runner in the 1970s, when he was for a time ranked as the top marathoner in the world, he won the Fukuoka Marathon in 1969, 1975, and 1976, as well as the Boston Marathon in 1977. His Canadian men's national record time in the marathon of 2:10:09, set in 1975 at the Fukuoka Marathon, stood for 43 years until broken by Cam Levins in October 2018 with a time of 2:09:25 in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Drayton had held the Canadian record since 1969, after breaking the then record of 2:18:55 set by Robert Moore a month earlier.

Athletics at the 1976 Summer Olympics – Mens marathon Mens marathon events at the Olympics

The men's marathon at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, was held on Saturday July 31, 1976. The race started at 17:30 local time. There were 67 competitors from 36 countries. Seven of them did not finish. The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress. The event was won by Waldemar Cierpinski of East Germany, the first Olympic marathon medal by any German runner. Frank Shorter of the United States and Karel Lismont of Belgium became the third and fourth men to win a second medal in the event, each one place behind their 1972 results. Ethiopia's four-Games marathon medal streak ended, as the nation boycotted the Games.

Jon Peter Anderson, is a lifelong Eugene, Oregon resident. He was a publisher and runner best known for winning the 1973 Boston Marathon. Anderson was a competitive long-distance runner from 1966 to 1984. He represented the United States as a member of the 1972 US Olympic track and field team.

Thomas J. Fleming was an American distance runner who won the 1973 and 1975 New York City Marathon. He was also a two time runner-up in the Boston Marathon in 1973 and 1974 and finished six times in the top ten in the BAA marathon. Fleming was the winner of the Cleveland, Toronto, Los Angeles, Jersey Shore and Washington DC marathons in the 1970s. He set a personal best of 2:12:05 in the Boston Marathon 1975, and was renowned for running 110 to 150 miles per week to train for road racing. He was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal in 1977.

Christa Vahlensieck is a German former long distance runner and pioneer in the marathon for women. During her running career, from 1973-1989, she simultaneously achieved a world record in the 10,000 metres, in the 25k road race and the marathon; she holds 17 German champion titles.

Athletics at the 1980 Summer Olympics – Mens marathon Mens marathon events at the Olympics

The men's marathon at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, USSR had an entry list of 76 competitors, with 74 athletes from 40 nations starting and 53 runners finishing the race held on Friday 1 August 1980. The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress. The event was won by Waldemar Cierpinski of East Germany, the second man to successfully defend Olympic gold in the marathon. Both the Netherlands and the Soviet Union won their first men's Olympic marathon medals.

Pekka Johannes Päivärinta is a Finnish former long-distance runner. He won men's senior race in the first World Championships of cross-country running in 1973. He competed in 1972 Olympics at 3000-meter steeplechase finishing 8th. In 1976 Olympics he competed in 5000 meters and finished 13th. In 1975 he broke world record in 25000 meters running by his result 1:14:16,8. The record was broken by Bill Rodgers in 1979.

Kim Merritt is a former American long-distance runner who competed in the marathon. Her career coincided with the development of women's running in the United States and she was at the forefront of distance running in the mid-1970s.

Garry Brian Bjorklund is an American middle- and long-distance runner. He represented the United States in the 1976 Summer Olympics in the 10,000 meters. As a high schooler, he set a Minnesota state record for the mile run which lasted 39 years. At the University of Minnesota, he won the 1971 national championship in the six-mile run, and won numerous conference championships in various disciplines. Following his 1976 Summer Olympics appearance, Bjorklund became a marathon runner, and set a national age group record in 1980.

Yuki Kawauchi Japanese marathon runner

Yuki Kawauchi is a Japanese marathon runner. He came to prominence after running the 2011 Tokyo Marathon in 2:08:37, finishing as the first Japanese citizen and third overall. He was known as the "citizen runner" given that he used to work full-time for the government of Saitama Prefecture and trained in his time off with his own expenses without any sponsorship. Kawauchi won the 2018 Boston Marathon. In 2020, he left his job in local government and became a full-time professional runner.

Frank Richardson is a retired marathon runner who competed during the 1970s and 1980s. Before entering his first races in the late 1970s, Richardson was 4th at the 1976 NCAA Men's Division III Cross Country Championship and 1st at the 1977 NCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 10,000 meters. In World Marathon Majors, Richardson was 20th at the 1979 Boston Marathon and did not complete the 1980 Boston event. That year, Richardson won the 1980 Chicago Marathon with a course record time of 2:15:15 and was 10th at the 1980 New York City Marathon. In other events, Richardson won the 1980 USA Marathon Championships and was 9th in the marathon at the 1980 United States Olympic Trials. After ending his marathon career in 1985, Richardson worked at a pharmacy before resuming road racing in 2001.

Debbie Mueller is an American middle and long-distance runner who won many major road races in the 1980s and 1990s, including the Dublin Marathon.

References

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 Bill Rodgers Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine . sports-reference.com
  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 www.youtube.com.
  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.

Books

Audio interviews