BOSTON (CBS) – Several former champions of the Boston Marathon are returning to town to participate in the events surrounding the 116th running of the world-famous race on April 16, the B.A.A. announced Tuesday.
A few of them are even breaking out the running shoes again. Here are all the details:
– American Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi will not be running Boston this year, but he will serve as the grand marshal for the race. Keflezighi will ride in a pace car ahead of the lead runners, letting all the spectators along the course know that the runners will be there shoon.
Following his recent victory at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Houston, Keflezighi will represent the United States at the Olympic Games in London this summer. He was the 2009 New York City Marathon champion and has competed in the Boston Marathon twice, placing third in 2006 and fifth in 2010.
– Inaugural Olympic gold medalist Joan Samuelson will participate in the race for the second straight year. Samuelson, who won the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathons before winning Olympic Games Marathon in Los Angeles in 1984, finished the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:51:29.
– This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 76th Boston Marathon in 1972, the first year women were officially allowed to compete in the race. The B.A.A. will honor Nina Kuscsik, who won in 1972, along with fellow pioneers and members of the 1972 women’s field Kathrine Switzer, Pat Barrett, Sara Mae Berman, and Valerie Rogosheske, and the Boston Marathon’s first female participant Bobbi Gibb, at the annual Champions’ Breakfast on Saturday, April 14.
The “Class of 1972” will also make public appearances in Hopkinton on Friday evening and at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo on Saturday afternoon.
– Former winners Olavi Suomalainen of Finland (1972) and Allison Roe of New Zealand (1981) will also receive honors at this year’s B.A.A. Champions’ Breakfast. Suomalainen became the first Finnish winner at Boston in a decade in 1972, finishing first with a time of 2:15:29. Roe triumphed over Patti Catalano with a course record time of 2:26:46 in 1981, but because of the devastation caused by an earthquake in her native country of New Zealand, was unable to receive her honors at the 2011 Champions’ Breakfast.
– Many will not remember this one, but this year marks the 100th anniversary of Michael J. Ryan’s victory over a mud and slush-soaked Marathon course in 1912. Ryan will be represented at the Champions’ Breakfast by four of his great-grandchildren: Amy Ryan Kadner, Laura Ryan Chimento, Mike Ryan, and Katie Ryan Mishkin, who will all run this year’s race in his memory.
The first-place trophy won by Michael Ryan in 1912 was flown by the B.A.A. to Boston for the weekend, and will be on display at various functions.
– The B.A.A. will pay tribute to the late John J. Kelley at the Champions’ Breakfast, the only B.A.A. Club Member to win the Boston Marathon. Kelley established a new course record of 2:20:05 with his win in 1957, and was the runner-up on five occasions. 1968 Boston Marathon champion, Amby Burfoot, will provide remarks on Kelley, who passed away in August, at the Champions’ Breakfast. Kelley was Burfoot’s mentor and friend.
WBZ-TV is the only station with start to finish coverage of the 116th Boston Marathon starting at 8am Monday, April 16.