Johnny Kelley, a two-time Boston Marathon champion who became a beloved figure in the history of the race by running it a record 61 times, died at 97.

He died last night at a Cape Cod, Mass., nursing home, stepson Dave DeLong said. His death came just three hours after he moved from his Dennis home to the nearby Windsor Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Kelley, a former Olympian and member of the USA Track & Field, National Distance Running and Road Runners Club of America halls of fame, won America's oldest marathon in 1935 and 1945 and finished second a record seven times. He was 84 when he ran his last Boston Marathon.

"Johnny was not only a great runner, he was a great person who touched millions of lives and inspired millions of runners," DeLong said. "He lived life to the fullest, in everything he did, and one of his greatest gifts was always seeing the best in everything and everybody."

Kelley completed 58 Boston Marathons, also a record, and had 18 finishes in the top 10.

* HOCKEY: Three teams of locked-out NHL players will play for free while touring the province of Quebec in a four-on-four hockey series from which all proceeds will be donated to children's charities. The 32-stop tour, which will not allow hitting or fighting, is being funded by sponsors.

Fans will pay $20 per ticket. The tour's first stop is Oct. 23 in Sorel, Quebec. The tour is being organized by Joel Bouchard of the New York Rangers. Jose Theodore of the Montreal Canadiens and Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers will suit up for one team.

Another squad features forwards Simon Gagne of the Philadelphia Flyers and Alex Tanguay of the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus goalie Marc Denis, while a third includes Minnesota's Alexandre Daigle and Anaheim goaltender J.S. Giguere.

Teams will dress 12 players and play 20-minute games in a round-robin tournament style at each stop.

-- From News Services

KELLEY