Jock Semple is best remembered as the apparent madman who chased after Kathrine Switzer 50 years ago in the Boston Marathon. He was trying to rip off her s, as Amateur Athletic Union rules did not allow women to enter officially. But there is more to the story. Semple was born in Scotland, immigrated to the U.
Here, a of veteran Boston runners remember the man in full.
Gender/racial differences in jock identity, dating, and adolescent sexual risk
Sure, he was notorious for his bad temper. And, sure, he was a product of his time and thought women shouldn't be running marathons. But I wanted to prove him wrong on that point. Thus it was really Jock who gave me the inspiration to create more running opportunities for women. Almost every day of my life I thank him for attacking me, because he gave me this spark. Plus, he gave the world one of the most galvanizing photos in the women's rights movement.
Sometimes the worst things in your life can become the best things. Several days later, my mother and I realized we still had it at our house. We talked about my grandfather, who was Scottish like Jock. Years later, he said he had seen me running without aso it was no problem at all. Jock had great respect for women athletes. He said his mother was a good athlete in her day. I started up in the front row that year. Everyone was chatting happily with me—the officials, the press.
No problem. I just stood on the side of the road and waited for half the field to go past me so I could fall in with runners going at my pace. He was just about the only one supporting the marathon at the time. His role was key. I still have it to this day. It was too bad that Jock was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring amateurism in the Boston Marathon, the same as keeping women out.
He only wanted to preserve the seriousness of the Boston Marathon. I started running New England races inso I saw a lot of him. Running was a serious business to him. He knew what discipline and devotion it took, so he felt it demanded respect. When I started running the Boston Marathon inI had no trouble from him. It was the beer bellies who snuck up to the front on the starting line that really bothered him. The crass publicity seekers.
When he saw Kathrine Switzer with ahe figured it was just another publicity stunt. Journalist and book author Hal Higdon finished fifth in in When I arrived in Boston for my first marathons, Jock Semple was the main man, but also on the surface a mean man. He was a little scary when you first encountered him. We were runners, and Jock loved runners most of all. We were his people. Witness the Switzer case, and his later support for women runners.
He was unyielding and explosive when his runners were involved. He was blunt, and fiercely loyal to the sport. He was also deeply modest. I never remember him mentioning the great professional athletes and marathon runners who used his therapy services. Jock was the most ethical man I knew.
He didn't drink, smoke, or cuss, and was extremely frugal in his habits. He was a good friend, coach, and inspiration. I met Jock Semple either at the finish or in the cafeteria. He checked in with me to see if I had a good run and told me to get some of the delicious beef stew. Over the years, it was always good to see Jock and receive such a nice, friendly greeting from him. He took the time even though he was busy with race responsibilities. So they gave me whatever they had left, something like XX When Jock and his prerace tunnel vision spotted that on the front row in Hopkinton, all hell broke loose.
Ya don belong heah! Jock was absolutely adamant about assuring the integrity of the Boston Marathon. For that we runners loved, admired, and respected him in return.
Charlotte Lettis Richardson, pioneer New England road racer, ran a marathon in Jock was an old school runner, running enthusiast, supporter, and trainer. He initially did not like the addition of women to distance races. He once stopped me from crossing the finish line of a cross-country race in Boston. But after he realized we were serious and tough, he came to accept us and support us.
Who was that guy who attacked kathrine switzer 50 years ago?
He apologized to me later in my career and shook my hand. I honor his memory because he admitted he was wrong about women in running. He was able to say he was sorry and to admit he had made mistakes. That takes courage, and it showed his true character. Jon Anderson, winner Boston Marathon, member, U.
Olympic team After my win, Jock ushered me into the Prudential Center to meet the press. When that was over, I asked Jock if I could call my wife and parents. I understand he kept the Boston Marathon alive for many years on a shoestring budget. Apparently, that applied to phone calls. Bob Hodge, third in in the Boston Marathon When I entered the Boston Marathon inI personally delivered my application to Jock in the old Boston Garden, where he was known to make toasted-cheese sandwiches on the radiators.
I felt the entry was too important to entrust to the U. Jock was ubiquitous at New England road races in those days. We all knew him. He was a prickly fellow, but his heart was in the right place. He was unfairly maligned for the K. Switzer debacle, because he was in favor of serious women athletes. He was just trying to enforce the rules as they were at the time. I was taking a shower after a summer race.
Is there anyone named Derian in here?
The miseducation of the american boy
Jock was a complete supporter of the sport and of serious athletes, so long as they followed the existing rules. I ran my first two Bostons for the BAA. Jock was a real character. I got to know him well enough to understand his gruffness. When runners like me showed up, he would tell the famous Bruins and Celtics players to leave. He wanted to concentrate on us. He was always kind and generous to me, and I saw him giving plenty of free treatments to others, too.
I loved the guy. I was on his massage table the day after every Boston Marathon. Next year. Gloria G. Ratti, New England road race volunteer since and current vice president of the BAA board of governors Jock and I worked together at many races, but his brusque manner invariably put me in a guarded mode, and I seldom engaged in chit chat with him. He respected and appreciated my help, but since my husband, Charlie, ran for the rival North Medford Club, he kept me at a distance.
I remember once I told Jock we should take post-entries at the Mount Washington race and simply charge an extra dollar for them. He grudgingly agreed. Afterwards, he looked very pleased when I gave him the post-entry funds. For several years I worked on weekends in our Hopkinton office, and Jock would occasionally stop by.
Again, he was always courteous and appreciative.
We were the archrivals of Jock and his BAA runners.