Bill Rodgers '70
After a productive career as a cross-country and track runner at Wesleyan before his graduation, Bill Rodgers ‘70 became one of the best-known marathon runners in the world. Winning his first event in 1973, the Bay State Marathon, Bill went on to capture the first of his four Boston Marathon titles in 1975, setting an American record with a time of 2:09.55. He won the New York City Marathon for the first time in 1976 while setting a course record of 2:10.10. He crossed the finish line first in that illustrious event four times in a row. Twice he qualified for the U.S. Olympic team, competing in Montreal in 1976 but sitting out the 1980 Games in Moscow due to the American boycott. His third Boston Marathon win in 1979 was timed in 2:09.27, again establishing an American record. Track & Field News ranked Bill as the World’s number-one marathoner in 1975, 1977, and 1979. He won more than 20 marathon events in a span of 11 years (1973–1983).
Bill continued to compete into his 40s and posted a time of 2:20.46 at Boston to place fifth in the master’s division in 1990. Bill was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 1998 and the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1999. The author of numerous books on the art of running, Bill established the Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston in 1977, a family business.