The Amazing Tale Of Mike Ryan’s Boston Cup

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published May. 2, 2012
  • Updated May. 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM UTC
Mike Ryan's ancestors pose in front of his vaunted 1912 Boston Marathon trophy. Photo:

He won it in the 1912 Boston Marathon.

It once was used to hold doors. And then it held flowers. But now it’s a piece of Boston Marathon treasure. The silver cup that was awarded to the 1912 winner, Mike Ryan, was recently presented to the Boston Athletic Association at the Breakfast of Champions last month.

Ryan won the race 100 years ago, running through rain, slush, and mud.

“I brought a polishing cloth with me just in case it needed a final rub,” Mike Ryan’s 53-year-old grandson, Bill Ryan, told Take The Magic Step® at the breakfast.

In that memorable race, Ryan defeated 123 of his fellow competitors. Unable to finish the 1908 Olympic marathon, he booked his trip to the 1912 Olympics at the Boston Marathon that year where the first three competitors were chosen to represent the United States.

In those days, the race didn’t start in Hopkinton, but rather in Ashland and the marathon distance wasn’t the standard 26.2 miles it is today. Back then the course measured 24.5 miles.

Ryan passed away at the age of 82 in 1971.

Please go to Take The Magic Step to read the entire story.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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