Triumphant across the ages.

Time Paradox Johnny Kelley Statue

Field review by the editors.

Newton, Massachusetts

What if you could meet a version of yourself from the future -- say, sixty years ahead -- and benefit from the wisdom of a lifetime yet to be lived?

That seems to be the message behind the statue of marathon racer Johnny Kelley.

Johnny ran 61 Boston Marathons, winning his first in 1935 and finally retiring at the age of 84 in 1992. The following year, Marathon officials erected a statue in his honor at the base of "Heartbreak Hill." Titled "Young at Heart" by artist Rich Muno, the sculpture depicts Kelley in his racing twenties grasping the upraised hand of another figure of himself, as a running octogenarian.

Marathoner statue.

It's a novel idea, but the problem is that younger Johnny -- bony, stringy, with none of the smooth flab of youth -- always looked old, and his aged but athletic self never developed a proper geriatric sag and slouch. Even the hairline is similar. Thus it's more mirror universe encounter than time paradox, and even if old Johnny has counseled younger Johnny to exercise and eat so that old Johnny will ultimately keep his figure and hair, it's way too causally convoluted for a park passerby to grasp.

This champion runner lived to be 97, so there are other lessons we might consider for our own longevity: Johnny worked as a maintenance man for the local electric company, had four wives, and no kids.

Time Paradox Johnny Kelley Statue

Address:
Walnut St., Newton, MA
Directions:
On the northwest corner of Walnut St. and Commonwealth Ave., but set back from the street along a running path. There's no nearby place to park, so you have to walk -- or, better, run -- to get to it.
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July 30, 2014

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