Former American record holder in the marathon who is best known for his victories in the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon in the late 1970s. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Rodgers won both races four times each between 1975 and 1980, twice breaking the American record at Boston with a time of 2:09:55 in 1975 and a 2:09:27 in 1979. In 1977 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, finishing 40th. He did not participate in the Olympics in 1980 due to the U.S. boycott over the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR.
In 1975 he won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, equaling 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, including the Pepsi 10,000 meter nationals (with a new world road 10K best time of 28:36.3), the Falmouth Road Race, and the Boston & New York marathons. Rodgers is also the former world record holder for 25 kilometers as he broke Pekka Paivarinta’s world record with a time of 1:14.11.8 on a track in Saratoga, California in 1979.
Track & Field News ranked Rodgers #1 in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979. 28 of the 59 marathons Rodgers ran were run under 2:15. In all he won 22 marathons in his career.
Rodgers received his B.A. in sociology from Wesleyan University, where his teammate Amby Burfoot also won the Boston Marathon while still a student. Rodgers also has an MS in special education from Boston College.
Rodgers was inducted on December 3, 1999, in Los Angeles, California to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame located in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1998, Rodgers was inducted in the first round to the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, New York.
The Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston, Massachusetts is owned and operated by both Bill and his brother Charlie. The family run business has been going since 1977.