RUNNER Sandy Stong is about to tick one of his top "must-do" boxes - to run the Boston Marathon.
He will achieve this dream in just over 12 weeks, when the 116th Boston Marathon is held on April 16.
"Man, was I happy," the 55-year-old said about qualifying for the event.
"You have to qualify at a marathon that's an accredited course," he said.
"It was one of the most exciting things that's ever happened to me."
He joked that his wife would kill him if he rated it at the top.
Strong had planned to qualify last July at the Gold Coast Marathon, but an injury put him out of that race.
"I couldn't do it, so I had to re-evaluate my goal," he said.
Not willing to give up the dream, he was back on the road for the Sydney Marathon in September, where he qualified for the major Boston event with a time of three hours and 36 minutes.
"It was really tight. I had to qualify on the Saturday and attempted to nominate for the Boston Marathon the very next night," he said.
"But I made it."
Strong said it wasn't his best time for the 42.2km run, with his top performance being three hours and 28 minutes.
He will run in the 55-60 years age group.
While Strong is running in the United States, three of his running mates will tackle the Canberra Marathon, which is held on the same day as the Boston Marathon.
"We decided to train together," he said.
However, his training program has been interrupted by the return of the injury that put him out of the Gold Coast Marathon last year.
"I should be running 100 kilometres a week and I'm not really running at all at the moment," he said.
He describes this as only a slight hiccup and one that won't stop him from running the marathon.
"It's not so much about getting a good time, it's more about being part of the experience," Strong said.
"It'll just be a blast."
Strong, a member of the Mackay Road Runners, began participating in marathons only in 2009.
He said he had wanted to compete in the Boston Marathon since then and decided this was the year he would "give it a crack".
"It's one of those key milestones," he said.
Strong is turning this athletic conquest into a bit of an overseas trip, enjoying a six-week holiday with his wife.
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