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~Black Bart Returns to Wellesley College for 106th Boston Marathon~

For immediate release:
March 29, 2002

Arlie Corday,
781-283-3321 or 2373

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Black Bart might sound like a villain out of the Old West, but he's actually a hero at Wellesley College and to the annual Boston Marathon. As a competitor in the Boston Marathon many years ago, John Archer, 87, also known as Black Bart, never finished first. Instead, he chose to run in the middle of the pack, supporting those around him.

This year the Milwaukee, Wis., native will have a front-row seat as a guest of residents in Wellesley's Munger Hall dormitory. The 106-year-old race goes by the Wellesley campus each year along Route 135; Munger Hall is at the halfway point of the 26.2-mile course that goes from Hopkinton to Boston. This stretch of road has been described as the loudest spot on Earth due to the highly enthusiastic cheering runners always receive. Like competitors before and after his day, Black Bart heard the cheers from Wellesley students and was inspired to keep running the long, hard miles ahead.

"Those days are part of the greatest experiences I had over my 87 years," said Archer. Beginning in 1967, he ran in 21 Boston Marathons (among the 65 marathons in which he has competed over the years). His running days came to an end in 1985 when, while training for the Boston Marathon, a hit-and-run accident resulted in major injuries to his right leg. After his recovery, Black Bart took up bike racing, only to re-injure the same leg when a stolen car collided with him almost two years ago.

Nevertheless, today Black Bart serves as an inspiration in more ways than one. While Black Bart no longer runs in marathons, he continues to be an avid supporter. Each year from his home in Milwaukee, he sends a generous check to the Munger House Council to help students buy oranges and paper cups for the water they hand to the marathoners.

"I am pleased to say that Black Bart will be joining us for the Marathon this year," said Munger Hall Head of House Patricia Monroe. To recognize the contributions of their loyal friend, Munger Hall will host its 4th Annual "Jiggity Jam" Sunday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m.

"This will be a reception to honor and to thank Archer for his contributions over the last 30 years," Monroe said. "We will also present the annual Black Bart Award for dedication to Munger Hall." The award recognizes a Munger resident who exemplifies qualities admired in John Archer such as dedication beyond the call of duty.

"And of course, Munger residents will be out in full force cheering during the race," Monroe added. The fun starts about 11:30 am on Marathon Monday, April 15, and continues throughout the afternoon.

Wellesley College, a prominent liberal arts college, has been a leader in the education of women for 125 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to about 2,300 undergraduate students. For more information, call 781-283-3321.


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  • Date Modified: March 29, 2002
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