Jeff Wells and the Boston Marathon

Click the following links to read more about Jeff Wells’ marathon achievements.

Jeff Wells in one of the Boston Marathon’s Closest Finish Ever

Jeff Wells Wins the Honolulu Marathon

Jeff Wells Wins the Stockholm Marathon

Jeff Wells in “A Day to Remember”

Jeff Wells’ Olympic Marathon Trial

Where is Jeff Wells Placed in the all-time Marathon Rankings?

What is Jeff Wells of Boston Marathon Fame Doing Today?

Jeff Wells in Good Marathon Company in Dallas

Jeff Wells and The Half

Jeff Wells in the Tulsa Run

Jeff Wells and the Mountain Goat

More Jeff Wells’ Marathon Results

Jeff Wells in one of the Boston Marathon’s Closest Finish Ever

Jeff Wells has never won the Boston Marthon. But in 1978 Jeff Wells came second in one of the closest finishes ever in the history of the Boston Marathon.

Bill Rodgers was back in fine form, but he had to hold off a fast-closing Jeff Wells to win by two seconds. Rodgers finished in 2:10:13, with Jeff Wells at 2:10:15, in the Boston Marathon’s closest finish to date. In the post race interviews Rodgers states “This was the hardest marathon in my life”.

Television sportscaster Gayle Barron won the women’s field in the 1978 Boston Marathon in 2:44:52. 1978 was the fastest mass finish in the Boston Marathon (and perhaps anywhere) as 2,076 runners broke the three-hour barrier; a mark that would be shattered the following year.

It was a great achievement for Jeff Wells to get so close to one of the legends of the Boston Marathon. Bill Rodgers won the Boston Marathon four times (1975 – 2:09:55; 1978 – 2:10:13; 1979 – 2:09:27; 1980 – 2:12:11). Jeff Wells was 23 years old when he achieved this great result in the Boston Marathon. Jeff Wells earned the 28th place for the fastest US marathon times ever for his 1978 Boston Marathon performance.

The top 10 finishers in the 1978 Boston Marathon, when Jeff Wells came second by one of the closest margins ever in the history of the Boston Marathon were:

  1. Bill H. Rodgers, Melrose, MA, GBTC 2:10:13
  2. Jeff Wells, Dallas, Texas, 2:10:15
  3. Esa Tikkanen, Finland, 2:11:15
  4. Jack Fultz, Franklin, PA 2:11:17
  5. John Randall “Randy” Thomas, Brighton, MA, 2:11:25
  6. Kevin Ryan, New Zealand, 2:11:43
  7. Don Kardong, Spokane, Washington, 2:14:07
  8. John Lodwick, Dallas, Texas, 2:14:12
  9. Yutaka Taketomi, Japan, 2:14:34
  10. Tom Fleming, Bloomfield, NJ, 2:14:44

Jeff Wells’ 1978 Boston Marathon time is ranked 252nd in the world’s all-time best marathon times. The fastest marathon time is 2:05:42 held by Moroccon-born American Khalid Khannouchi.
Back to Top

 

Jeff Wells Wins the Honolulu Marathon

Jeff Wells won the Honolulu Marathon on 11 December 1977 in a time of 2:18:38

Jeff Wells plus 2,899 finish it Jeff Wells, a 23-year-old theology student from Madisonville, Tex., led a string of 2,900 runners across a Kapiolani Park finish line yesterday in the largest participation sports event in Hawaii’s history, the fifth annual Honolulu Marathon. Wells’ time for the 26-mile, 385 yard grind was 2 hours, 18 minutes and 37.1 seconds – no threat to any world or U.S. records but the second best time of the five Honolulu Marathons. Wells, who had been considered the favorite by the world-class runners in the meet, was followed in by Herman Atkins of Everett, Wash., a 28-year -old who had surprised handicappers of the race by leading it for the first 13 miles. Atkins time was 2:20:54.2. City Parks and Recreation Department worker Cindy Dalrymple was the first woman to finish, making it home in 2:48:07.6, her best marathon clocking and second women’s title. Dalrymple, a 35-year-old single parent, faced one of the stiffest tests any woman marathoner has had to measure up to, conquering a field of over 600, reportedly the largest delegation of women ever to test 26 miles and 385 yards at one time. Bruce Mitchell, one of three wheelchair entrants to the marathon, finished 103rd clocking in at 2 hours, 55 minutes and 26.3 seconds. The loudest applause of the afternoon was reserved for the youngest marathon finisher: 6-year-old Kevin Greenwell of Waialae. The 5th Annual Honolulu Marathon was held Sunday, December 11, 1977.

Back to Top

Jeff Wells Wins the Stockholm Marathon

Jeff Wells won the 1980 Stockholm Marathon in 2:15:49

An article about the New York City Marathon in the American magazine, Sports Illustrated, inspired Swedish sports journalist and dedicated representative of the Hässelby Athletics club, Anders Olsson, to create the Stockholm Marathon. On 4 August 1979 the first Stockholm Marathon was inaugurated by 2.000 runners which made Stockholm the biggest marathon in Europe in 1979. The race was an unexpected success and got great media coverage.

Next year Jeff Wells won the Stockholm Marathon in a time of 2:15:49. 4517 eager runners started two minutes early without noticing the missing starting gun (it was left behind in the head quarters’ safe!) Eventual winner of the marathon was Jeff Wells, who dashed off after seven kilometres. Ten police officers accompanied him on motorbikes. ABBA star Björn Ulvéus finished in 3:23:54. How many of today’s international pop stars would manage to beat that?

• 5 488 entrants (5 289 men, 198 women) from 22 nations. 4 517starters. 4 517 finishers. • Results: MEN: 1) Jeff Wells, USA, 2:15:49. 2) Kjell-Erik Ståhl, SWE, 2:18:26. 3) Ian Thompson, GBR, 2:19:25. WOMEN: 1) Ingrid Kristiansen, NOR, 2:38:45. 2) Gill Adam, GBR, 2:50:10. 3) Sissel Grottenberg, NOR, 2:50:22.

Back to Top

Jeff Wells in “A Day to Remember”

Jeff Wells features in “A Day to Remember” in the NIKE-OTC Marathon 1979.

In one of running’s most heralded ties, Sandoval came across the finish holding hands with Jeff Wells in 2:10:20. “We were running together,” says Sandoval, “At the finish, I just put my arm out and Jeff put his arm out. No words were spoken.” 30 2:10:20 Anthony Sandoval (2) Eugene, OR 25 Nike OTC OR 09/09/79 30 2:10:20 Jeff Wells (2) Eugene, OR 25 Nike OTC OR 09/09/79 From Nike: We’d like to share some ad copy with you. It’s from a 1979 ad called “A Day to Remember.” We’ll let it speak for itself: “NIKE-OTC Marathon, Eugene/ Springfield, September 9, 1979. By noon, it was a day to remember. So much so that those watching wanted to be out there. And those that ran wanted to watch. Because special things happened. The results were hard to believe. If you haven’t heard what was done by Sandoval, Jeff Wells, Lodwick, Quax, Benoit, Atkins, Lindgren, Bright, Manley, 46 Olympic Trials qualifiers and 350 dedicated, prepared race volunteers—write us. But we don’t want to tell you about this race just because good people were there and ran well. Surely they did. Some even called it a ‘gathering of eagles.’ It was more than that. A time to share with friends and heroes. A rising of the marathoning spirit we hear about, but don’t feel as much as we used to. A runner’s race. You should have been there.” Hey, it was enough just to read the copy.

Back to Top

Jeff Wells’ Olympic Marathon Trial

Jeff Wells has Olympic Marathon Trial in 1980 in Buffalo, New York.

Since 1968, the U.S. Olympic marathon team has been selected at the Trials race. The top three earned coveted spots on the team (in recent Olympics, provided Olympic “A” standards were met). Before 1968, the U.S. Olympic marathoners were selected based on a series of marathon races. The history of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, albeit short, is rich and storied. 1972 Olympic gold medalist and 1976 Olympic silver medalist in the marathon, Frank Shorter is the only man to finish first in consecutive U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

May 24, 1980: Buffalo, New York Time standard = 2:21:54 225 Qualifiers, 192 Starters, 125 Finishers 1) Tony Sandoval (NM) 2:10:19 Trials Rec 2) Benji Durden (GA) 2:10:41 3) Kyle Heffner (TX) 2:10:55 4) Ron Tabb (TX) 2:12:39 5) Jeff Wells (TX) 2:13:16

Unfortunately Jeff Wells’ 5th place meant he narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympic Marathon. However, Jeff Wells could find solace in the cold war politics of the day, Soviet aggression in Afghanistan had led President Jimmy Carter to order a U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Games.

Back to Top

Where is Jeff Wells Placed in the all-time Marathon Rankings?

Jeff Wells makes the all time US top ten marathon rankings in 1977.

Jeff Wells’ first time in the US top ten marathon rankings came in 1977 when he was ranked fourth. In 1978 Jeff Wells ranked second. In 1979 he was ranked third. In 1980 eighth. In 1981 and 1982 Jeff Wells did not rank in the US top ten marathon rankings. The last time Jeff Wells made the US top ten marathon rankings was in 1983 when he ranked ninth place.

Jeff Wells holds the 28th and 30th places for the fastest US marathon times ever.

Jeff Wells’ 28th place is for his Boston Marathon time in 1978 with a time of 2:10:16

Jeff Wells’ 30th place is for his first equal place in the NIKE-OTC Marathon in Eugene(OR) in 1979 with a time of 2:10:20. Jeff Wells was 25 years old at the time.

Back to Top

What is Jeff Wells of Boston Marathon Fame Doing Today?

Jeff Wells Jeff Wells Jeff Wells is the founding Senior Pastor at the WoodsEdge Community Church in Texas. Jeff Wells grew up in Madisonville, Texas. Jeff Wells was born in May 1954. He became a believer in the summer before attending Rice University where he majored in History and was a four-time All-America recipient in track and cross country. While at Rice, he also received the Bob Quin Award as Outstanding Student Athlete. Jeff is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned the Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees. Jeff and his wife Gayle met in Oregon where Jeff was serving in a church internship and running for Nike. When they met, Gayle was working as a nurse. She is currently on the WoodsEdge staff as Director of Welcome Ministries. Jeff and Gayle have three children – Sarah, Callie, and John Paul. Jeff’s hobbies include reading, running and anything outdoors with his family.
Back to Top

Jeff Wells in Good Marathon Company in Dallas

In the early ’80’s, some of the nation’s top distance runners called Dallas home. Jeff Wells, John Lodwick, Kyle Heffner, Ben Motori and Juan Zetina all won prestigious races and created national headlines. Jeff Wells came within two seconds of winning the Boston Marathon in 1978. His college and seminary roommate, Lodwick placed fourth in the Boston Marathon in 1981, and third a year later. Motori and Zetina, former teammates at North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) both earned Olympic Marathon berths for Kenya and Mexico, respectively. Heffner earned a spot on the 1980 US Olympic team that went nowhere due to a US-led boycott of the Games. Back to Top

Jeff Wells and The Half

Jeff Wells was a regular in The Half in the 1980s. The Half is the premier running event in the North Texas Area. During the 1980s The Half was the venue of a continual duel between two of Dallas area’s top runners, Jeff Wells and John Lodwick. Originally organized in 1976 to fill a niche between the 10K and the marathon length races, The Half has become a fixture on the racing calendar. Under the direction of The Cross Country Club of Dallas since the early 1980s, this event has gained the reputation of a “runners’ race.” Each fall, runners target this race for its additional challenge or as a training run for marathons. The status of this event is recognized by the fact that local runners have always simply referred to it by its nickname, “The Half”, and the race stands alone as the sole running event on the first Saturday in November, in an otherwise busy fall racing schedule. It is also the culminating race in the City Championship Series. The Half celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2005. Back to Top

Jeff Wells in the Tulsa Run

Jeff Wells finished second in the first Tulsa Run in 1978 in a time of 46:10

The Tulsa Run began in 1978 with a challenging and scenic course running through the best of downtown Tulsa and the scenic River Parks. 27 years later, this Tulsa tradition is still going strong and each passing year only adds to its interesting history. Frank Shorter had never even run in Oklahoma, but as he toed the line with 1,300 runners (there was 1,900 in the fun run) he was made to feel right at home. University of Arkansas runner Mike Clark was first to the tape in a new state record time of 46:01, with Jeff Wells (Dallas) second in 46:10; Rick Musgrave (Norman) 46:26; Shorter, 46:26; and Tulsa’s Mike Hairston (46:57). Before the race, Shorter had predicted that 46:30 would win, he didn’t miss it far.

Back to Top

Jeff Wells and the Mountain Goat

Jeff Wells was the first winner of the Mountain Goat 10 mile race in 1979 in a time of 50:12

As part of an early morning fitness class at the Downtown Syracuse YMCA, a small group of people started to jog around a few city blocks. As their fitness improved, distance was added to these daily runs. As part of their route, they added some parks in Syracuse , many of which featured some of the highest points in Syracuse . Special shirts were created claiming these individuals as “Mountain Goats”. In June of 1978, 25 people decided to run four city parks during the same run, covering a distance of 17.5 miles. All those who completed the run, received a special ribbon recognizing them as “Super Goats”. YMCA Director Walt Price, created an official race in 1979, called the “Fun to Run Classic” which started in Columbus Circle . A 10 mile course was created that needed to be a demanding course, which tested runners and provided a true sense of accomplishment for all those who finished. The initial Mountain Goat featured a 3000 meter race and the 10 mile Mountain Goat. Jeff Wells, winner of the 1977 Honolulu Marathon and second placegetter in the 1978 Boston Marathon , was the first winner of the Mountain Goat in fifty minutes and twelve seconds. Over the years, may top ranked national runners have tackled the Mountain Goat. Joan Benoit, Benji Durden, Jeff Galloway, Jerry Lawson, Michelle LaFleur, Tom Carter, Kevin Collins and Deb Springer are all past winners of the Mountain Goat.

Back to Top

More Jeff Wells’ Marathon Results

Jeff Wells won the Dallas White Rock Marathon in December 1976 in a time of 2:15:11

Jeff Wells won the New Zealand Marathon on 2 February 1985 in a time of 2:16:43

In the 1996 Houston Tenneco Marathon Jeff Wells was the fourth placed American and fourth in the 40-49 age group with a time of 2:29.16

In the inaugural Brazosport Run for the Arts 10-miler, Jeff Wells achieved the male masters record with a time of 51:51