Sam Mellor, the father of the Yonkers Marathon and one of the famous long distance runners in the United States was born in Yonkers on March 14, 1880. He attended School Two and spent his after school hours training at Buckwheat Track in Dunwoodie, where he developed his speed and stamina.
He won his first race, 6 miles, on January 22, 1898 in Mt. Vernon N.Y., starting a distinguished career which saw him were the colors of the National A.C., the Hollywood inn, the Yonkers harriers, and the Mercury Club.
In 1901 he won his first national victory at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo in heat of 104 degrees, losing 11½ pounds while finishing 1½ miles ahead of his nearest competitor.
In 1902 he was christened the “Little White Shadow” by sportswriters Bill Sweany of the Boston Globe when he flashed across the finish line, the winner of the Boston Marathon in the time of 2 hours, 43minutes, and 15.4 seconds. In1904 a horse and buggy paced him as he created a new record of one hour 48 minutes for the Canadian Marathon of Hamilton, Ontario.
In 1904, Sam Mellor was a member of the United States Olympic team which competed at St. Louis. He might have won the marathon, too, but for an incident that ranks with the most unusual in sport. He started out fast and held a tremendous lead after running a few miles. He was so far ahead, in fact, that he thought he was on the wrong course and turned around to run back to the stating line. It developed that he was on the right route and he might have won easily. As it was, he failed to finish.
In 1905 he scored what he claimed was his most difficult victory, winning by 6 inches in the 10 mile race on Young’s Million Dollar Pier in Atlantic City. In 1907 he won the Newark Marathon and in the same year helped bring the first Yonkers Marathon to our city, finishing second in a race won by John Hayes who later repeated in the Olympic in London.
In 1909 Sam Mellor won the Bronx Marathon, the Mercury A.C. 25 miles race, and the Empire City Marathon.
In 1908 he instituted the Yonkers Schoolboys Race, a distance of 3½ miles. In1909 he retired from active racing, the proud possessor of more than 500 trophies, cups and medals, after having competed in 29 marathons, plus scores of shorter distances raging from 5 to 20 miles.
He died on November 5, 1948, at the age of 68.