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5/2/2014 11:45:00 AM
Finishing what he started
A year later, Boston Marathon's in the books for Clark Doggett
by Steve Huffman
contributing writer

SUMMERFIELD - Clark Doggett got around last week to finishing something he'd started a year earlier - the Boston Marathon.

Doggett, 71, a Summerfield resident, was competing in the 2013 Boston Marathon when terrorists detonated bombs near the finish line, bringing the race to a halt.

Doggett completed about 25 miles of the 26.2-mile race, but wasn't allowed to cross the finish line. That changed this year when he returned to Boston with his wife Jane, and daughter, Beth Kaplan.

The marathon was run April 21.

"There was never a thought about not going back to finish," Doggett said. "It was something I wanted to do, it was a moving experience."

Doggett, a retired pharmacist, turned to distance running at an age when most have long since given up the sport. He was 65 at the time.

"I needed to lose a little weight," Doggett admitted. "Running helped me with that."

He ran his first marathon, The Road Runner, in Akron, Ohio, four years ago. His sons, John and Matthew, competed along with him.

Doggett has now completed six marathons. He qualified for the 2013 Boston Marathon with a time of four hours and 22 minutes in the 2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon. Most of the runners who weren't allowed to finish the 2013 Boston Marathon were invited back for this year's race.

Though he didn't set any records in running this year's Boston race (he finished in five hours and 44 minutes), Doggett said that's okay.

"It wasn't about the time, it was about the experience," he said.

More than 32,000 runners competed in the marathon this year.

"The crowd was unbelievable," said Kaplan. "There was something about watching it unfold before you with 1 million of your closest friends that will have you yelling and laughing one minute and crying and bawling the next. We saw runners cheering and running like they could run 50 more miles. We saw runners that were literally crawling to the finish line. I saw a father stop and kiss his wife while his daughter reached up and rubbed his face. If you weren't shedding a few tears then, you just weren't human.

"And then, the moment I had been waiting for all day, my Dad came around the corner looking strong, looking like a marathon runner," Kaplan continued. "And we all screamed a little harder. Boston you are strong!"

Doggett is a member of The Streakers, a running club based out of Fleet Feet Sports, a sporting goods store on Lawndale Drive in Greensboro. His fellow runners refer to him as "OMD," which is short for "Old Man Doggett."

"It doesn't bother me," he said of the nickname. "That's what everyone calls me."

Doggett does most of his training on greenways in Greensboro, including parts of the A&Y Greenway, a trail that may one day stretch to Summerfield. He said when he's preparing for a marathon, he averages about 40 to 50 miles per week in training.

Though his days of running marathons are likely behind him, Doggett said he'll still be preparing for shorter races.

He does leave the door open for another race like the Boston Marathon, however - if one of his children qualified and he had the opportunity to run alongside them.

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