Weatherford Democrat

April 12, 2013

Running for her mother

Weatherford woman taking her late mom’s place in Monday’s Boston Marathon


Mineral Wells Index

— By LIBBY CLUETT | Lone Star News Group



Weatherford’s Felicia Scott is carrying the figurative “torch” for her mother, Iris Stagner, and it’s keeping her busy.

Last September Stagner, an avid cyclist who worked to increase safety and awareness for fellow road cycling enthusiasts, was riding her bike on U.S. Highway 180 West across the Brazos River bridge west of Mineral Wells when she was struck from behind by a truck and killed. Just days earlier Stagner had learned she was accepted to run in the Boston Marathon, something she had long dreamed of and prepared for.

Scott, who has never ran a marathon, said she started thinking “in the back of my mind” about filling her mother’s shoes for the Monday marathon.

“The night [of or] after the funeral, I thought, ‘I should see if I could run the Boston. I don’t know if they will let me, but ‘ll try,’” she recalled. “I thought ‘no way,’ then ‘I should do it. It would mean a lot to her to do that.’”

She communicated her wishes through email to the Boston Athletic Association and a man told her they would have to present it to the board. She said she didn’t hear for a while, then, “a month later I got an email that they were accepting me.” She leaves for Boston today.

Scott’s immediate and extended family, friends and Mineral Wells High School classmates are helping.

“It means a lot to Felicia and the rest of the family, too,” said Iris’ husband, Butch Stagner. “A lot of us are going – Iris’ two brothers and their wives and several of the people she ran and rode with. A lot of Felicia’s friends are going.”

Stagner recalls when his wife qualified for the Boston Marathon. She ran a 4:03:01 in Fargo, N.D., on May 19, he said. But making the time is just part of the process to be invited to run in the Boston Marathon.

“They don’t want just anybody to run,” he said. “It’s an exclusive race. All have to qualify and not everybody who qualifies is chosen.”

“She was ecstatic – very excited,” he said of Iris the day she received her letter from the Boston Athletic Association. “I think she actually had a pretty good idea she was going to be accepted, but when she got the letter, it was official then.”

Now, it’s up to Felicia to prepare to run in her mom’s shoes in one week.

“Felicia had run several half marathons,” Stagner noted. “A couple of weeks ago she ran 20 miles.”

Scott’s story is getting attention. Last week Dale Hansen’s Sports Special featured her preparation and cause.

This isn’t all Scott is doing to honor the memory of her mother.

“Bike Texas contacted me [to join them in] going to the Capitol Tuesday, presenting the Safe Passing Law, and I am going to tell my story and hope they [the House of Representatives] listen,” she said.

Earlier this week, Stagner said he, Scott and Folee, Iris’ granddaughter, handed out wellness coordinator/sponsor awards for the Texas Association of Counties.

“TAC sends [counties] money to spend on wellness,” he explained. Iris was the Palo Pinto County coordinator and seemed to take her job seriously, urging county employees to take walks on their lunch breaks and earning enough money through the TAC program to acquire fitness equipment.

Stagner said TAC started handing out an annual award to wellness coordinators “who meet certain requirements. They call it the Iris Stagner award.”

Some of Scott’s Mineral Wells classmates have set up a website, runforiris.org, and a fund at First Financial Bank to support Felicia in her efforts and to contribute to the awareness and safety of running and cycling in Texas. The website has a donation page and, according to one of Scott’s classmates, funds raised will go to Bike Texas, an organization for which Iris served as a board member. Through Bike Texas, she urged legislators to make roadways safer.