|Born||February 11, 1922|
Flores was born in Cotió, Mixco, a town near Guatemala City. During his early athletic career, Flores worked in as a low-paid laborer in a textile factory. He would wake at 4:00 am to run for two hours, and run an additional two hours after returning from work at 6:00 pm.
Flores' career spanned from 1941 to 1957; prior to winning the 1952 Boston Marathon, he was the winner of multiple international races, notably the marathon at the 1946 Barranquilla Games, the half marathon at the 1950 Central American and Caribbean Games in Guatemala, and the marathon at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City. He also participated in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.
1952 Boston Marathon
On April 19, 1952, Flores participated in the Boston Marathon, a major international racing event. He took the lead from his countryman Luis H. Velasquez after the first ten miles, and, against any predictions, finished ahead of U.S. competitor Victor Dyrgall by almost five minutes, recording a time of 2 hours, 31 minutes, and 53 seconds. His record remained as a national record for Guatemala for seventeen years, until November 5, 1969, when it was broken by Julio Quevedo.
Honors and Awards
The Boston achievement made Flores a sports icon in his country, and the Guatemalan government paid him tribute by renaming the national stadium in Guatemala City to Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores. He was treated as a national hero by the Guatemalan government, which also awarded him the Order of the Quetzal (the nation's highest civilian honor).
Life after retirement
References and footnotes
- (Spanish) "Famous Guatemalan persons: Mateo Flores" - www.deguate.com
- Race summaries from the Official Boston Athletic Association and Boston Marathon web site - www.bostonmarathon.org
- (Spanish) Mateo Flores: racismo y nación en Guatemala - www.efdeportes.com - Biography and career