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Apr 10, 2016 1:08 PM

NH1 News' Racing to Boston: Grandpa Bill inspires many

EXETER - Bill Cotter is preparing for his 22nd Boston Marathon -- and getting some of his motivation from his grandchildren.

"They love to get the cowbells and make signs for them and cheer for them," said Bill's daughter, Meg Mazzola. "Even just yesterday, my daughter was asking when we get to see him again."
As NH1 News continues its series 'Racing to Boston,' reporter Chantel McCabe talked to a grandfather who inspires his whole family and other runners, while finishing first in his age group for almost every race he enters.

Bill and his daughter, Meg, have been training together for years. They've raced around the world, including in Ireland. Their favorite marathon as a pair, so fa,r was in Chicago.

"She had a goal she wanted to break, four hours," Cotter said of his daughter. "So we trained and we trained hard for that race. She turns to me and says 'This sounds a little crazy, but I'm almost sorry this is over?' I said why? She said 'Because we did all this training,'" Bill said.

And another vivid memory of theirs, the 2013 Boston Marathon. Meg was watching with her young son as her dad crossed the finish line, just two minutes before bombs went off.

"To me, it's the sounds going off and knowing that a mom lost a child that day; it was a tough day," Meg said.

"I had to switch off right away," said Bill. "And you just have to think 'How are we going to get out of here?'"

Despite the shock, Bill has run each Boston Marathon since and feels the Boston Marathon holds special meaning because of its elite nature.

"Other than the Olympics, this is a race you have to work hard enough to qualify for," Bill said.

Bill is one of the many New Hampshire runners Racing to Boston. We'll continue our series profiling Granite State athletes next week.

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