Marshfield resident and dog to compete in 'Doggy Duathlon' in New York

Sydney Schwartz

Nearly every day at high tide, Boo puts on an orange life vest and goes for a half-mile or mile swim in Duxbury Bay. In the evenings, he goes for a mile-or-two run on the grass at Marshfield High School, which, his owner said, is better for his joints.

Boo, a 5-year-old black Labrador Retriever, and his owner, Stephen Meneely, are training for the IAMS Doggy Duathlon World Championships, part of the New York City Triathlon, which takes place July 20.

Meneely and Boo are running the race to benefit the Marshfield Food Pantry and raise awareness about hunger on the South Shore.

“It’s all about the food pantry. It’s not about me. It’s not about publicity. It’s not about the dog,” he said. “This is going to affect a lot of people in Marshfield.”

Meneely, a software writer who has done about 100 triathlons, said he found out about the Doggy Duathlon when he tried to sign up for the sold-out New York City Triathlon.

“We’ve been looking forward to this day ever since,” he said. “I’d rather do it for a charity and have it focus on the dog and a charity.”

Boo, he said, got a taste for competition as a puppy, when he jumped out of the open window of his car to swim after his owner during a swim practice.

Two years ago, the dog ran with Meneely’s wife in a relay of The Fantastic Nantasket Beach Triathlon in Hull. Meneely swam and biked in the race. The family came in third and Boo got his first medal, Meneely said.

This summer, the two have been training together in Duxbury Bay, sometimes with other South Shore triathletes. They also walk together for several miles a day.

“I take him swimming as often as I can, wherever we go,” Meneely said. “He’s come to a lot of local races with me.”

Meneely said he got the idea for the donation to the food pantry after reading an article in the newspaper. He hoped to organize a road race last fall to benefit the pantry but couldn’t get permits in time.

When he signed up for the Doggy Du, he realized it was a good fundraising opportunity for the food pantry, he said. An anonymous Marshfield donor has promised to match the first $20,000 donated, he said.

“I’ve been thinking about it ever since,” Meneely said. “The story, just knowing that people are hungry, it bothered me.”

“I went there and I saw families coming in, and I realized how lucky I am.”

Meneely and Boo will compete with 26 other pairs in the July 20 race, which includes a 10-kilometer run around the northern loop of Central Park. The Doggie Duathlon champion wins The Rembrandt Cup.

The race was also supposed to include a 1,500 meter swim in the Hudson River, with the dogs in life jackets, but that portion was canceled this week due to logistics.

The day before, Meneely said, he and Boo will run in the Chipotle Underwear Run.

He said the Doggie Duathlon will probably be Boo’s last race, especially with the heat of training in the summer.

“He’s getting a lot of white hairs,” Meneely said. “It really takes its toll on a black dog. It’s brutal for him.”

Checks can be made out to the Marshfield Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1097, Marshfield 02050. Please place Boo’s name somewhere on the check.

For more information on the Food Pantry, visit agencies/marshfieldfoodpantry.htm

To find out more about the race, visit World_Championship.htm.

The Patriot Ledger