SUH Yun-Bok

1947 Boston Marathon champion passed away at the age of 94

SUH Yun-Bok, the 1947 Boston Marathon champion from Korea, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 94. Suh was the first Asian champion of the Boston Marathon, setting a then-world record of 2:25:39. It was the first world record ever set on the roads leading to Boston. Suh was an Olympian in 1948, and served as a sports administrator in South Korea for many years. 

“SUH Yun-Bok was an inspirational Boston Marathon champion, setting the stage for many future competitors,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the B.A.A. “His win was meaningful not only in the sports realm, but also back home to the people of Korea: his was the first victory in an international sporting event after Korea gained its national independence. Suh’s win was the catalyst for future Korean success in Boston, including a podium sweep at the 1950 race.”

At 5 feet, 1 inch, Suh was one of the shortest Boston Marathon winners. What he lacked in size, he made up for in strength. After overcoming a fall caused by a stray dog on the course, Suh took the lead from Finland’s Mikko Hietanen on the last of the Newton hills and ran unchallenged to the finish. 

The Boston Marathon and Boston Athletic Association extend condolences to the family and friends of SUH Yun-Bok, forever a Boston Marathon champion.