Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boston Marathon: Age-Old Dream

Octogenarian Clarence Hartley

All I can say is wow....
After 81 years, Clarence Hartley is finally running the Boston Marathon. What took him so long? First there were two wars—Korea and Vietnam—where he served in the United States Air Force. Then he spent years stationed in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Germany, and England. More recently, he battled lymphoma and prostate cancer. But on April 18, Hartley will set off on a well-deserved journey from Hopkinton to Copley Square.

At a time in life when even the most active runners show signs of slowing, Hartley is still running strong. He'll be the oldest entrant in this year's Boston, having qualified last May with a 4:39 marathon (he needed 5:00); he's since run a 4:26. He's just 13 minutes shy of the American record for 80-to 84-year-olds, but Hartley is more keen on "beating several thousand younger runners," he says. "The last time I felt so good was on my final combat mission in the Air Force in 1969. We did a barrel roll flying back to base, and my crew threw me in a pool."
Read it all and what a marvelous story.

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