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Billy's Breakthrough

Autographed by Bill Rodgers, this  18" x 24" lithograph is limited to an edition of 1000.  It has been printed on acid-free stock and was signed and numbered by the artist, Andrew Yelenak.  

This painting was two years in the making and painstakingly researched for historical accuracy.  Rodgers is pictured rounding the final turn from Hereford Street onto Ring Road, heading for the finish line.

Price $79.00 unframed, plus $6.00 shipping.  Ordering Information


Why "Billy's Breakthrough?"


Bill Rodgers'  breakthrough performance came in the 1975 Boston Marathon.  Unknown to the general public and wearing a hand-lettered Greater Boston Track Club t-shirt, he burst onto the national stage winning the race in an American and Course record of 2:09:55.  When told his time Bill responded, "It can't be true... I can't run that fast."

Bill's Favorite Moment 

When the artist, Andrew Yelenak, first contacted Bill about doing this painting, he asked him what part of that 1975 marathon he remembered best.

Bill said, "My favorite part is my turning around the final corner at the top of the hill, above the straight shot to the finish. There were numerous motorcycles about me and people on each side of the street- but no other runners!  It still ranks as one of the most thrilling moments of my life."


Customer Response

From C. S. in Papillion, Nebraska

"I was blown away. The painting is incredible and with the attention to detail, it makes you feel as if you could be standing on the corner watching Bill fly by."

From K. H. in Kalispell, Montana

"I just received my order today, and it's great.   Billy's Breakthough is quite amazing in person! I just love it! I like the media you used. You captured the faces of everyone quite well, thus setting down the mood excellently!"

From K.C. in Minnesota

"Just sent you a note and moments later the doorbell rings, it is the postman with my print......in a word it is.....OUTSTANDING!!  I was going to wait a little while before having it framed, not sure I can."

From J.B. in Staten Island, New York

"Just wanted to let you know I received your print in pristine mint condition and it is truly a great work, right down to the GBTC T-shirt and Nike shoes.."


Nuts and Bolts

To see how this painting was created, visit Andrew Yelenak's studio.


Was it the Shoes?  The Prefontaine Connection

A little known bit of trivia involves the running shoes Bill wore that day.  In March of 1975 Rodgers placed an amazing 3rd in the World Cross-Country Championships in Morocco.  Based on that performance Steve Prefontaine, representing the new Nike Athletic Shoe Company, sent Bill a brand new pair of running shoes.  According to Bill's brother Charlie, "Pre apparently felt Bill was now worthy of a pair."  Read the letter Pre wrote.

Bill wore them in the 1975 Boston Marathon because they were better than anything else he had.  The only problem was they were a little too big.  Bill had to stop once in the final miles to tighten the too large Nikes, yet he still managed an American and Course record.



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