Paul Clerici chronicles ‘Boston Marathon History by the Mile’

David Wilson

The Boston Marathon is set for April 18, and Paul Clerici, for one, is thrilled that it’s back in its rightful place on the calendar. “It’s a rite of spring!” said Clerici, author of “Boston Marathon History by the Mile” and several other books about local running and races.

“There are certain things you just need in certain months, to reset your life and get everything back to normal,” he added. Clerici, who has run the Boston Marathon 23 times, isn’t racing this year — too busy working on another book — but he’ll no doubt write about it.

Writing was the Walpole native’s first love. “Before junior high school, I knew I wanted to write. I’ve been fortunate to know what I wanted to do,” he said. Soon enough, though, he fell for running. “In high school, I was on the track team. Walpole has some great road races, and I started doing the smaller distances and just enjoyed it,” he said. After running several 5Ks and 10Ks, he tried a half marathon, then aimed for the pinnacle: the Boston Marathon.

It wasn’t easy. “You run one, and you go, ‘That’s it, I’m not going to do that again,’” he said. “But within a week, the body forgets the pain.”

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Writing about the marathon combined both passions. “I love history, I love reading about history, I love running,” he said. “Having run it for 23 years, and having covered it for over 30 years, I knew there were so many great stories, anecdotes, myths, and tall tales.”

Each stretch of the race through each town has its own little quirks, characters, and memories.

About his new book,One of the best compliments I get is that people say they put it on their nightstand, to read it as they train,” he said.

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As for Clerici’s own marathon career, it isn’t over. “I think I have a few more in me. My knees have held up.”

Paul Clerici will read in person at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Milton Public Library.

Kate Tuttle, a freelance writer and critic, can be reached at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.

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