The New York Sun, 25 July 1908, 3:7
He's 19 Years Old, a Little Chap, but Game as They Come-A Good Job Waiting for Him, With a Big Advance in Pay.
John J. Hayes, the New York boy who won the Marathon, told his friends in Bloomingdales' store weeks before he started with the American athletes for England that he would win the big race sure.
"I just know I'm going to win," said Jack Hayes, "and I wish it were fifty miles instead of twenty-six. The next time you fellows see me I'll be wearing the laurel wreath, or whatever they give the winner, around my ears. I've been training my head and my legs ten years for a chance at the Marathon."
The boy who made good in the toughest, most heartbreaking athletic contest in the world is only 19 years old, a slim, little nickeled steel athlete from his toes to the crown of his head. He stands just a shade under 5 feet 4 inches and he weighs 125 pounds.
Jack Hayes is as Irish as you find them, with black hair, blue eyes, a good humored and freckled face and a ton of confidence in himself. With all his triumphs on the cinder path-and he has won enough cups and medals and trophies to fill a cupboard-he is a modest chap who doesn't care to gabble about his own achievements. When he talked about his chances in the Marathon before he left this country young Hayes said to his friends in the store:
"I know to a breath how far I can run and how fast. I intend to go right out with the pacemakers, keep at their heels until I am ready to finish, and then go on and win. I am not afraid of any of them, but I expect our own boys to make it hot for me. Longboat? I'll bet you the Indian crumples up before he goes twenty miles. Tom Longboat is like a prizefighter who has seen his best days, and I don't believe he will have enough in him to go the distance."
The actual running of the Marathon proved how accurately young Hayes had estimated his own ability and the strength of his competitors. Longboat, the Indian, gave up before the twenty mile mark, and except for the Italian and the South African, it was the Americans who gave Jack Hayes the stiffest trial. He ran as he said he would, up with the pacemakers until he got ready to let them see his heels, and then he sprinted on and won as he told his friends he could.
Hayes went to work at the Bloomingdale store when he was 17 years old as a messenger and odd job boy. He wasn't all muscles and legs, so he worked his way up to the job of assistant in the superintendent's office at a salary of $20 a week. When he gets back to the store Samuel Bloomingdale will offer him the chance of making $4,000 or $5,000 a year as head of the sporting goods department. More than that, they are going to give him a big reception.
Last spring Hayes trained on a quarter mile track on top of the Bloomingdale store. Most of his training had to be done at night since his job kept him busy every day but Sunday.
In a letter Hayes wrote to one of his friends in the store and received the other day he said:
"There won't be any excuse if we don't win. As for myself I can still eat, sleep and run just as good as I did on the other side."
Hayes is unmarried and lives at 246 East Fifty-fifth street.
Hayes is the first American to figure prominently in a Marathon held abroad. The event at the first Olympic revival in Athens was won by a Greek, Loues, who covered the original course from the village of Marathon to the Stadium at Athens in 2 hours 55 minutes 20 seconds. AT the Paris Olympiad of 1900 the Marathon was won by Teato, a Frenchman, with A. L. Newton of the New York A. C. a good second. Teato's time was 2 hours 59 minutes. In the St. Louis Olympiad of 1904 all the places were won by Americans, there being no foreign opposition worth while. The winner, T. J. Hicks of the Boston, winning over a wretched course in the unavoidably slow time of 3 hours 28 minutes 53 seconds.
Once again the event was held on the original course at Athens in 1906 and though the Americans made a good fight, first place went to Sherring of Canada. W. G. Grank of the Irish American A. C. was third in. Sherring's time was 2 hours 51 minutes 23 3-5 seconds. Outside of some minor Marathons, such as Boston, ST. Louis and other places this brings the history of the race to the present.
As a distance man anywhere from two to ten miles Hayes was slow and never figured in the front brigade. But he had plenty of stamina, and whenever he did run any long distance it was noticed that he finished fresh and in good shape. This Marathon runner and his friends advised him to go for the Boston race two years ago. He was duly entered by the St. Bartholomew's Club, of which he was a member from the beginning of his athletic career. It will be remembered that in this particular Boston Marathon Tom Longboat, the Canadian Indian, appeared. The redskin knocked all former records silly by covering the course in 2 hours 24 minutes 20 4-5 seconds. Fowler of Boston was second in 2 hours 27 minutes 54 seconds, and this was 1 minute 29 3-5 seconds inside the record. Hayes ran a plucky third, his figures being 2 hours 30 minutes 38 seconds, so that thus early in his career he gave promise.
In the early part of last winter those locally interested in Marathon racing, particularly the Mercury A. C. of Yonkers, organized a Marathon and it brought cracks from the West and all over. Hayes was entered by the St. Bartholemew's Club, and he gave as brilliant a display as could be looked for over the course. The race started from Yonkers and was over the Westchester roads and byways.
Hayes led out of the town, but slackened his gait so that the pace alternated between Mellor, Lorz and Crowley. After passing the nineteenth mile Hayes took the lead and drew away from his opponents in the early most decisive fashion, winning by nearly two miles from P Lorz of the Mohawk A. C. Corey of the First Regiment, Chicago, was third. In this same race was T. P. Morrissey of the Mercury A. C., who was destined to figure later as a Marathon racer. He came home tenth.
Hayes's time was 2 hours 44 minutes 45 seconds. After the Yonkers Marathon Hayes was recruited to the Irish-American A. C. However, nothing was seen of the Marathon men until a twenty-five mile race there, and it was won cleverly by Morrissey, Hayes being a non-starter. A couple of weeks later, in April, the Boston Marathon came along. Hayes was a strong favorite, but to the surprise of the whole country Morrissey won in 2 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds. It was said by officials were he not interfered with by the crowd of autos on the course he would have lowered Longboat's figures. Hayes was second in 2 hours 26 minutes 4 seconds, and he too was hampered by the autos. Hayes is a member of the Ninth Regiment, N. G. N. Y.