Claussen qualifies for Boston Marathon

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BRATTLEBORO — Al Claussen's longest training run this year was 24 miles in the pouring rain. He then had to deal with severe cramps during the Vermont City Marathon on Sunday.

The 50-year-old from Townshend dug down deep both times.

Claussen, who had galloped through puddles all the way from Grafton to Brattleboro in order to prepare, placed 203rd overall in a time of 3:20:11 in Burlington last weekend to qualify for the 2020 Boston Marathon.

"I can't even tell you how excited I am to do Boston. It's one of my favorite cities. I'm really, really excited," said the husband of Leland & Gray varsity softball coach Tammy Claussen. "I want to amp it up when training for this. I know it's a tougher course than my first marathon was, but I want to beat 3:20 by a lot."

He stays in shape by playing basketball and soccer in the mornings at Leland & Gray. The father of four plans on tackling the Spartan Beast at Killington in September — imagine frigid swims, barb-wire crawls, and uphill climbs through the mud.

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"I love a physical or mental challenge. It's you against the course. I love the challenges and helping other people," stated Claussen.

The man who was born in Toronto and ran track at the University of Maine also enjoys doing Townshend's annual 5k, which he placed second in on May 11.

"It's a great local race and it's for a great cause," noted Claussen.

In November, he went on a keto diet and started training for his first 26.2-mile race. With encouragement and advice from his new friends Garrett and Brent Schwartz, he was able to hit the Burlington race's halfway mark in a remarkable 1:33. The cramping started to affect him around the 17th mile.

"With about a half-mile to go, you hear the screaming and cheering fans," mentioned Claussen. "You just forget about the pain."


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