STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) — John J. Kelley, winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon and known to his fans as the first modern American road runner, has died.
Amby Burfoot, a friend whom Kelley coached in high school in Groton in the early 1960s, confirmed his death. He said Kelley died Sunday in Stonington at his daughter’s home from a melanoma that spread to his lungs. He was 80.
Kelley would sometimes be confused with 1935 and ’45 Boston Marathon champion John A. Kelley, a patriarch of the race who ran it each year until 1992 when he was 84. John J. Kelley would be known as “Johnny the Younger.”
Burfoot, an editor at Runner’s World, says Kelley finished second at Boston five times and won eight consecutive USA National Marathon titles.