Marathon Special Issue A victory from defeat How Boston Athletic Association athletes’ poor showing in one event in the 1896 Olympics inspired them to create America’s most beloved footrace. ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page photograph from Trustees of the Boston Public Library The wildly successful US team in the Olympic stadium, in 1896. illustration from Bettmann Archives Greece’s King George I presenting victory laurels to marathon hero Spiridon Louis. photograph by Hulton Archive/Getty Images A view of the Olympic stadium in Athens. photograph from Trustees of the Boston Public Library Members of the American Team for the 1896 Olympics in Athens, the first modern games. The first Marathon through the eyes of the Globe. John McDermott, an Irish-born New Yorker, won the first Boston Marathon, in 1897, with a time of 2:55:10--nearly seven minutes faster than the runner-up. photograph from New York Athletic Club BAA runners from the 1890s in their unicorn uniforms. Globe front page marking US Olympian Fred Lorz’s win in 1905. Timothy Ford, 18, of Cambridge won in 1906. Tom Longboat, an Onandaga Indian from Hamilton, Ontario, won in 1907. A smallish group ready to start the 1923 Marathon. globe file photo John C. Miles of Nova Scotia won in 1926 and 1929. globe file photo Only nine Boston Marathon champions have returned to successfully defend their titles, and only one — Clarence DeMar — has done it more than once, in 1922, 1923, and 1924 and again in 1927 (pictured) and 1928. globe file photo DeMar ran the race 32 times in all and was given the nickname “Clarence DeMarathon.” Pictured, DeMar crossing the finish line in 1930. Leslie Pawson, who was a Pawtucket, Rhode Island, mill weaver, according to the Boston Athletic Association, scored the first of his three Boston wins in the 1933 race. Winner Dave Komonen of Ontario, Canada, prepared for the 1934 race by making his own running shoes, according to the BAA. John Kelley winning the Marathon in 1935. Globe front page heralding the 1937 win of Walter Young, who, acc0rding to the BAA, was an unemployed snowshoe racer from Quebec. Globe file photo Crossing the finish line in the 1939 Marathon. photograph by CARR/BAA Joe Smith passes Lou Gregory to take the lead just before Cleveland Circle and eventually the win in the 1942 Marathon. globe file photo Gerard Cote won the 1943 marathon despite a strained Achilles’ tendon, according to the BAA. It was his second Boston title. Greek marathoner Stylianos Kyriakides hung gallantly onto John Kelley and ran him down in the late stages of the 1946 race with a 2:29:27 winning performance, according to the BAA. Globe file photo The winner of the 1947 Marathon was Korean Yun Bok Suh. globe file photo The Marathon underway in 1949. photograph by Associated press The start of the 56th Boston Marathon, in 1952. photograph by paul connell/globe file Runners race through Natick in 1959. Associated press/file Paavo Kotila, 32, of Finland reaches out to break tape with his fingers as he walks across the finish line to win the 64th Marathon, in 1960. Deputy Mayor John P. McMorrow holds aloft the wreath of victory. Photograph by Paul J. Connell/Globe file John Kelley runs the Boston Marathon in 1962. Kelley started the race 61 times, finished 58 times, and won it twice--in 1935 and 1945. photograph by associated press/file Morio Shigematsu, who lowered the course record to 2:16:33, led an unprecedented finishing contingent that saw the Japanese finish 1-2-3-5-6 in 1965, according to the BAA. United Press international photo/file An official attempts to stop women runner 261 from competing in the 1967 Marathon. Number 261 was listed on the program as K. Switzer of Syracuse, New York. photograph by Paul J. connell/globe file Switzer remained in the race. Wesleyan University student Ambrose Burfoot gave American runners their first victory in 11 years, in 1968, according to the BAA. Gene Roberts crosses the finish line in 1970. The BAA officially started a wheelchair division in 1977. In 1972, for the first time in the history of the Marathon, women are allowed to enter. From left to right: Nina Kusci, Kathy Miller, Elaine Pedersen, Ginny Collins, Pat Barrett, Frances Morrison, and Sara Mae Berman. Photograph by Joseph Dennehy/globe file New Yorker Nina Kuscsik became the first official women’s winner at Boston with a 3:10:26 performance, according to the BAA. Winner Jon Anderson in 1973. photograph by bill brett An aerial view of the 1978 Marathon. photograph by Frank O'Brien/file From left to right, Esa Tarkanen, Frank Shorter, and the winner of the 1978 Marathon, Bill Rogers photograph by BOB DEAN/globe staff The Boston Marathon in 1991. photograph by john blanding/globe staff/file In 1979, Bowdoin College student Joan Benoit (Samuelson) led the women’s field with an American women’s record performance of 2:35:15, according to the BAA. photograph by pam BERRY/ GLOBE STAFF file The start of the 100th Boston Marathon, in 1996. photograph by jim davis/globe staff Moses Tanui breaks the tape to win the 100th Boston Marathon, in 1996. DAVIS, Jim GLOBE STAFF An emotional Uta Pippig after winning the womens title for the third time straight, in 1996. photograph by bill brett/GLOBE STAFF Women's wheelchair winner Jean Driscoll crosses in finish line in the 1996 Marathon.