Two-Time Cancer Survivor Clarence Hartley Completes Boston Marathon
Despite having fought in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Hartley's biggest struggles came during two separate bouts with cancer. He has successfully overcome non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well as prostate cancer, and his fight with the disease inspired him to participate in one of the world's most prestigious road races.
"I remember lying on an exam table thinking about Lance Armstrong and what he accomplished," he told the source. "I thought if I survived, I'd come back like he did and run Boston."
Hartley, who has run nearly 150 road races since the age of 68, first decided to run a marathon in 2005. He was able to complete the 26.2-mile event in four hours and nine minutes, qualifying him to run in the Boston Marathon. Because of his illnesses, however, he was forced to wait. After he made a full recovery, he qualified for this year's edition of the event, beating the required time for his gender and age group by a full 21 minutes.
Earlier this week, Hartley finally was able to achieve his goal, as he was the oldest person to run in the 2011 Boston Marathon.
“The last time I felt so good was on my final combat mission in the Air Force in 1969," he said.
Best of all, his time of 4:26:25 allowed him to fulfill another goal - to beat "several thousand younger runners."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66,120 Americans develop with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma each year, while 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually.
People fighting against these and other similar diseases can contact the American Cancer Society for information, resources and support.