The B.A.A. at 125: The Official History of the Boston Athletic Association, 1887-2012

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9781613211984: The B.A.A. at 125: The Official History of the Boston Athletic Association, 1887-2012

Founded in 1887 and celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2012, the Boston Athletic Association is one of the oldest sports organizations in America. It’s best known today for its signature annual event, the Boston Marathon, which is the third-largest marathon and attracts tens of thousands of participants and worldwide media coverage. But the B.A.A. has also been amazingly prescient in anticipating what would become one of the major social trends of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries: the modern fitness movement. Consider some of the B.A.A.’s firsts:

  • Nine out of the fourteen members of the US team participating in the modern Olympic Games in Athens (1896) were B.A.A. athletes.
  • The B.A.A. launched the first US marathon, the Boston Marathon, in 1897.
  • The B.A.A. pioneered and actively promoted many of today’s popular sports, including football and water polo.
  • The original B.A.A. club house, in the historic Back Bay section of Boston, is the precursor of today’s health club.

Still, the B.A.A. story is not simply one of athletic achievements and firsts. It’s also the dramatic story of people and the times in which they lived—a social history that unfolds in nineteenth-century Boston but takes readers around the world, up to the present, and includes a large and international cast of characters. A wonderfully illustrated history,The B.A.A. at 125 highlights the Boston Athletic Association’s important role in American sports history.

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About the Author:

John Hanc is a regular contributor to Newsday and Runner's World magazines. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Smithsonian, Men's Fitness, the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and Yoga Journal. Previous books include his award-winning memoir, The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon, as well as the bestselling how-to books Running for Dummies and The Essential Runner. Hanc is an associate professor of journalism at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury.

Review:


"When most people think of the Boston Athletic Association, they think of the Boston Marathon. If you're one of those people, John Hanc wants to expand your thinking. Hanc, a senior writer for Runner's World, is the author of The B.A.A. at 125, a surprisingly rich and varied history of the organization behind, yes, the world's most famous marathon, but also many other developments in the intersection of sports and society in American history."

Runner's World

John Hanc, the author, over the 114 pages and one hundred photographs, does a yeoman's job at giving the reader a real feel of the Boston Athletic Association. This is a must read for any sports fan, and especially, if one runs or follows the sport of athletics.”
—RunBlogRun

But, if one is interested in understanding the vision and the ideals of why this race has become one of the world' s great marathons, then John Hanc's new book on the Boston Athletic Association, The BAA at 125, fulfills and inspires those seeking these answers.”
Runner’s Gazette

John Hanc’s account of the history of the BAA ends with the happy assertion that 125 years after the BAA organized itself, the purpose of the Marathon remains the nurturing of the dreams of thousands of ordinary individuals who toil to cross their own finish lines.’”
Boston Globe

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