Meet the Official Marathon Dog!

Spencer is an inspiration to the runners.

May 7, 2022
Meet the Official Marathon Dog! | Spencer is an inspiration to the runners.

Runners of the Boston Marathon have been greeted by a furry friend on the two-mile mark of the 26.2-mile course since 2015 rain or shine. Now, he has been named the Official Dog of the 126 th Boston Marathon by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) just days before the April 20, 2020 race.

The BAA presented the 12-year-old golden retriever who is a trained therapy dog with his own “Spencer bib” and gave Spencer and his sister Penny, who is also a therapy dog, a ride in a limousine to the Fairmont Copley hotel ceremony, reported Boston.com News.

“Every dog has his day. Today is Spencer’s and he’s sharing it with his girl Penny. The duo is being whisked away by limo,” wrote Spencer’s owner Richard Powers on Facebook, “Special Thanks to Fairmont Copley For putting this all together. To honor Spencer for his years of cheering and inspiring the Boston Marathon.”

Back to the beginning
While Spencer has been cheering runners on since 2015, he first became famous in 2018, according to CBS News.  That’s when  during a very rainy marathon, Powers put a bright yellow raincoat on the dog and that made him much more visible.

Photos of Spencer went viral on social media and he became an unofficial mascot of the marathon. “I mean, when I walk the dog people just stop and say, ‘This is Spencer?’  They act like they're meeting Sandra Bullock,” Powers told CBS News.

People actually stopped running to take selfies with Spencer and there is frequently a line of people waiting to meet this special dog.

But this changed in 2020 when the pandemic shuttered the Boston marathon and Spencer was diagnosed with a large benign tumor that was surgically removed. “He got the care he needed; he survived. In 2021, he was back on the course and it was really kind of a miracle and that really hit home to a lot of people," Powers said. 

Unfortunately, Spencer’s vets found another tumor, one that is cancerous, and the therapy dog had to  undergo chemotherapy. Powers was afraid that Spencer would not feel well enough to go to the marathon this year. But he made an excellent recovery and was back to his therapy rounds at hospitals, senior homes, and schools.

Good News

It was after one of these visits that Powers received the news that Spencer was being honored by the marathon. While it was a surprise, it was a well-deserved honor for this inspiring dog.

“He just represents hope, it's the best way to describe him. An inspiration. And he just kind of represents the regular guy, you know, who's fighting the good fight and plugging away and getting by,” Powers said. “Everybody out there has a Spencer story – whether it's a person or a dog or a cat or themselves – they're going through some personal struggle; they're just doing the best they can.”

One runner came up to Powers after the race and asked if Spencer had a medal, Powers wrote on Facebook. When Powers said “no”, the runner took out his 2021 medal and put it around Spencer’s neck. The runner told Power, “Keep doing what you're doing.” This special dog will keep inspiring hope wherever he goes.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.