First of all, this video starts off with 5 minutes of Dan Akroyd and John Belushi as The Blues Brothers….being introduced at the Rhino Club by Garrett Morris….plus the credits of SNL with the whole Not Ready For Prime Time Players singing Happy Trails To You….as just a wonderful piece of untitled video to whet our viewers appetite before watching an incredible inside look at America’s most celebrated distance runner, Bill Rodgers.
Bill Rodgers is an American runner and former American record holder in the marathon….who is best known for his four victories in the Boston Marathon….including three straight in 1978, 1979 and 1980…. along with the New York City Marathon between 1976 and 1980.
Rodgers won both the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon four times each between 1975 and 1980….while twice breaking the American record at Boston with a time of 2:09:55 in 1975….and 2:09:27 in 1979. In 1977….plus, 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….while finishing 40th after cramping dramatically after being dehydrated in he middle of the race….then he did not participate in the Olympics in 1980 due to the U.S. boycott over the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR…..causing then US President Jimmy Carter to bring politics into the Olympics….which in our opinion here at ImaSportsphile, THE WORST TICS ARE POLI-TICS….as we consider that politics should never enter into sports anywhere.
In 1975, Rodgers won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships….which equaled 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….which included 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 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 # 1 in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979…..as of the 59 marathons Rodgers ran….there were 28 that he ran 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 on December 3, 1999, in Los Angeles, California to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame located in Indianapolis, Indiana….and In 1998, Rodgers was inducted in the first round to the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, New York.
We at ImaSportsphile consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have this distance special featuring a very personal inside look at America’s best ever distance runner….even better than Frank Shorter….as we consider this another “nugget of gold” in our treasure chest of vintage memories.