Local runner, official marathon dog gear up for the Boston Marathon

Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 10:17 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Monday is Boston Marathon Day! Athletes from all over the world will make their mark in Beantown with 30,000 official participants from 122 countries and all 50 states, including one western Massachusetts native.

Western Mass News spoke with one runner from Chicopee participating in the race and the owner of the official marathon dog to find out what this annual race means to them.

Marathon Monday is back after being canceled in 2020 and postponed to a fall classic for 2021. Western Mass News caught up with Richard Powers, the owner of the official dog of the Boston Marathon. He told Western Mass News that his dog Spencer has gained popularity at the marathon over the past few years.

“Every year, ever since he’s been out there with the Boston Strong flag, and he had a pretty modest following everyone just loved to see him year after year,” said Powers.

Powers told us that 12-year-old Spencer has been a crowd staple amongst runners since 2015, but having his pup honored as the official marathon dog is even more special following spencer’s battle with cancer for the past two years.

“Last year, in particular, they were really screaming out his name because he almost passed away in 2020, he had 3.5-pound tumor taken out of him in November. And it was a miracle that he made it and it was a miracle that we were able to be there in 2021 running in this marathon and then shortly after the 2021 Marathon he was diagnosed with cancer...He’s looking strong and his odds of being there tomorrow is as good as any other year in the past,” said Powers.

Spencer will be cheering on the many participants competing and raising funds for various charities, including Chicopee native Ashley Dion.

“I am raising money for the Sean Thornton Foundation, it’s founded by Sean Thornton, who’s a former Boston Bruins hockey player and he raises money for Parkinson’s and cancer research. I’m running because I lost my grandfather in February 2021, he was battling both Parkinson’s and cancer...It was just a perfect organization to run for in his honor, so I’m really excited I got that opportunity to do so,” said Dion.

This will be Dion’s first time running in the Boston Marathon, something that has much greater meaning to her and her family following the loss of her grandfather.

“It’s been a huge family effort too, and it’s just been awesome just to see everyone come around and rally for it, but we’ve actually raised over $5,000 so that was really cool to see and I know he would be proud of me,” said Dion.

The Boston Marathon will kick off Monday at 9 a.m. Western Mass News will be in attendance. Be sure to tune in Monday morning and evening for the latest updates from the big day in Beantown.