Carlton Mendell, the most prolific and eldest of all Lakes Region distance runners, managed only seven miles at his annual pilgrimage to the Boston Marathon.

Mendell, 84, injured his leg about three weeks ago when he slipped on some loose turf while walking his dog. The pain was too much to bear on Patriots Day.

“I took a chance and was hoping all the big muscles in my calf would hold together. But it just hurt too much and I didn’t want to take a chance” of permanent injury, Mendell said.

Mendell has finished 29 Boston Marathons and was the oldest competitor in the race both this year and last year. He was featured before the race in a television interview with the youngest runner.

But in typical Mendell style, the passionate runner will try a shorter race this weekend at the 25th Annual Red’s Shoe Barn Five Mile Road Race in Dover, New Hampshire. He expects to win his age group and qualify for some “nice gift certificates” to the shoe store.

“I was wise to stop during the marathon and hop on the injured bus. I may have injured it worse if I had kept going,” Mendell said.

-John Balentine

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