John J. Kelley, winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon, two time Olympian and winner of the rebirth of the Mt Washington Road Race in 1961.
Yes, this is the man, the myth, the Mystic legend himself. John and I talked about that special 1961 race up the to the summit of the tallest peak in the Northeast. It had been resurrected from the 1930s where it was left behind then to focus on the war effort. 1961 was also the 100th Anniversary of the carriage road, the route all runners race to the top, the 7.6 mile ascent. The BAA (also responsible for the Boston Marathon) decided to take on the logistical challenge of hosting a race on a mountain. The infamous Jack Semple (of Kathy Switzer fame, as well as fame in his own right) convinced his men to come up and put on a good showing.
Kelley's Pace was my little slice of heaven. A small shoe barn exploding with trainers, apparel and that beautiful smell of running rubber. If you're in the market for a new pair of sneaks, make the well worth trip to Mystic, stop in and see John, tell him the kitchen table docs sent you.. then get some pizza.