Jock Semple

Jock Semple

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Jock Semple
Event marathon
Born Oct. 26, 1903 at Glasgow, Scotland
Died March 10, 1988

John Duncan "Jock" Semple (1903-1988) was the organizer of the Boston Marathon. He drew notoriety when, as Race Director, he attempted to remove Kathrine Switzer's race number during the 1967 Boston Marathon because she was a woman.

Semple was a physical therapist for the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics for more than 40 years and was also a trainer for Olympic athletes.

AP/Wideworld Photo
Semple immigrated to the United States in 1921 to look for work as a cabinetmaker in Philadelphia. He moved to the Boston area in 1930, one year after running in his first Boston Marathon. He had various roles with the marathon for six decades

He had his training room and office at the Boston Garden and was the Celtics' masseur from 1947-64 and officially the Bruins' therapist starting in 1971, but he was affiliated with the team from the 1950's.

Mr. Semple trained the United States Olympic hockey team in 1948 and 1952. He also worked with Olympic bobsledders, skiers and skaters over the years.

He ran in more than 100 marathons, and was instrumental in the rise of the 26-mile-385-yard Boston road race over the years, including the implementation of qualifying times in 1970 and the formal admission of female runners in 1972.

Semple was inducted into the RRCA Hall of Fame in 1985.

He died in 1988 from cancer of the liver and pancreas.


Just Call Me Jock: The Story of Jock Semple, Boston's Mr. Marathon by Jock Semple with John J. Kelley and Tom Murphy. 202 pp. Waterford Publishing Co. (1981) ISBN 978-0942052015

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