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For a 37th straight year, David Audet set to go in Boston Marathon

Apr. 12—WHEN David Audet thinks back to the 1987 Cape Cod Marathon — the first marathon he ever ran — what does he recall?

"I remember sitting on the town green down there saying, 'Man, I'll never do this again' because it was pretty painful," Audet said. "I knew nothing about pacing. I went out and treated it like it was a 5K. A lot of cramping. It was a harsh lesson learned.

"The goal was to qualify for Boston, and I did. You recover and then you get very excited when Boston comes around, so you run. I told myself I wouldn't, but when you're in pain, you say a lot of things."

Audet, a 59-year-old Concord resident, hasn't stopped running in marathons since then. He estimates he has competed in 160 to 170 marathons overall, including at least one in every state. He'll add to that total when he runs in the 128th Boston Marathon on Monday.

Audet said he's won about 14 marathons, although his best time came in the 1994 Boston Marathon. He finished 78th overall in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 42 seconds that year.

He said at one time Boston was his favorite marathon, but the size of the event has taken away some of the enjoyment.

"No question it has the most fanfare, but you get down there and it can be a headache to get your number," he said. "You have to weed through all the people. The real excitement is just going down there and being with my family afterwards. My two youngest sisters and my girlfriend are going down there with me this year. My nephew and his wife come down and watch most years, too.

"It's not the toughest. I had my best time ever down there years ago, but there are a lot tougher courses like Fayetteville, Arkansas. There are others, but I'd have to give that some thought. It's a tough question.

"There are some courses that are exceptionally flat. I remember Baton Rouge was probably the flattest course I'd ever seen. Hawaii was beautiful. Victoria, British Columbia was beautiful. There's been a few awful courses too where you see nothing but trees. Just running in the woods."

Audet, who works in the United States Post Office on Goffs Falls Road in Manchester, finished third among New Hampshire runners in his first Boston Marathon (1988). That began a string of 36 straight Boston Marathons he has run, including 2020, when the event as we know it was canceled by COVID but runners ran "virtual" alternative races.

By his standards, Audet's goal this year is a modest one: He wants to run well enough to be invited back in 2025. Last year, he nearly finished last because of injuries and inadequate training.

"There's a sharp contrast between that 78th place and last year's finish," he said. "I finished sixth from last out of the whole field last year. A lot of walking. A lot of walking. I had 1:49 to spare before I would have missed the cutoff for this year.

"My knees have been on borrowed time since I was a kid. A lot of arthritis in there and a few surgeries. The idea is just keep running as long as you can. I'm dreaming of getting back there for next year, but this could be my final one if I have a year like last year."

rbrown@unionleader.com