Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sgt. Dan’s the Man!

Who ya gonna call when you need an enthusiastic, top-notch performance of the “Star- Spangled Banner” or “America the Beautiful”?

Sgt. Dan Clark.

Sgt. Dan has performed before Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins games. He’s performed with the Boston Pops, and oh yeah, he’s performed before the start of the Boston Marathon... 17 times!!

I caught up with Sgt. Daniel Clark, aka “the Singing Trooper”, via e-mail and asked him a few questions about his schedule on marathon day and more.

What’s your favorite Boston Marathon memory?

The first time was exciting because at that time I was part of the State Police Motorcycle Unit that was working the race and my assignment was the lead female runner. Prior to the start of the race one of our Sergeants told the director, Guy Morse, about me who immediately invited me up to the podium to sing "America the Beautiful" with motorcycle helmet in hand. At that time a chorus from Hopkinton High was performing the National Anthem along with their band. After I sang, I once again mounted my Harley and worked the race.

What’s your schedule like on Marathon Monday?

Since that (first) time the entire race, including my role, has expanded. I still sing "America the Beautiful" before the start of the Wheelchair Competitors and I still sing the National Anthem at the start with the Hopkinton High School Band who are stationed on the gazebo while I perform on the starters’ platform. ( To accomplish this logistically is quite challenging!)

In recent years an additional extended patriotic performance was added for the "Runners Village" while the runners are preparing and waiting for the start.

Now in 2006 a new chapter will begin for me. This will be the first time I appear as (retired) Sgt Dan Clark "The Singing Trooper" former US Marine.

Have you ever run the Boston Marathon?

In 2002 I did run the Marathon immediately after my performances! I actually had my lycra on under my uniform, stretching while on the starter's platform, and was able to perform, change, and run the race. This proved to be very challenging because I normally expend a large amount of energy just in my performances. I was already down to about 80% before I took a step. I finished in 5 hours and what amazed me the most were the spectators along the route and the amount of sound that was generated by their cheering. I was especially impressed that they were still cheering for a 5 hour slug like me. It was as though it didn't matter whether you were #1 or #15,001 you still got the same applause. This experience gave me a new found respect for all of the athletes.

Over the years I have made many friendships that are too numerous to mention. I can't say enough about the BAA, Guy Morse, Dave McGillivray, and my friend Lt. William Coulter of the Mass State Police who inspired me to run and whose MANY hours of volunteer work get all the police running in this event. (I don't think people realize the amount of police actually on the course.)

What do you do after you perform on Marathon Day?

Well, I watch the race...of course!

Thanks, Dan. All the best on Marathon Monday. Visit Sgt. Dan’s website at