|Full name||William Henry Rodgers|
|Born||December 23, 1947|
Hartford, Connecticut, US
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||59 kg (130 lb)|
|Club||Greater Boston Track Club|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)|| 5000 meters : 13:42.00 |
10,000 meters : 28:04.42
Half marathon : 1:04:55
Marathon : 2:09:27
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1975, Rodgers then burst into national prominence when he won the 1975 Boston Marathon in 2:09:55, setting a new American record.
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.
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.
Track & Field News ranked Rodgers number one in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979.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".
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.
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.
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.He lives in the small town of Boxborough, Massachusetts, and still participates in running-themed events.
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