Boston Marathon will be race to remember for Felicia Scott

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on March 31, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 31 at 11:01 PM

PALO PINTO COUNTY -- When more than 20,000 runners start the Boston Marathon in two weeks, Felicia Scott of Mineral Wells will be there.

She's not a veteran road racer; in fact, she has never run a full marathon of any kind, ever.

"Well it was kind of a shock," Scott said. "I didn't actually expect them to approve it. It's a little overwhelming."

Felicia will actually be running the race for her mother, who had qualified for Boston.

"It was awesome. it was amazing, that my mom was going to run in Boston and it was only her second marathon," Scott said.

Six months ago, Felicia’s mother, Iris Stagner, was riding her bicycle just a few miles west of Mineral Wells. It's one of the more scenic rides in North Texas.

She was crossing a bridge over the Brazos River on Highway 180 when she was struck from behind, and died at the scene. The accident happened just three days after she received her acceptance letter from the Boston Athletic Association.

Neil Reddick used to ride with Stagner, although he wasn't with her the day she was killed. He set up a ghost bike near the site as a memorial and a reminder of the tragedy that took place here.

"A grave stone -- that's like the sad times. But the ghost bike, with all the medals and things? It reminds you of things we did," Reddick said. "This is like the happy times. If we can keep it here a year or so, and remind everyone that it’s a person on the bike. Even though the bike is the only thing still here, there really was a person that was here."

Stagner always preferred riding her bike over driving her car, and when the daylight was right, depending the time of year, she would always ride her bike 12 miles, from Mineral Wells to Palo Pinto, to go to work.

"There was a young man killed east of Mineral Wells and she took care of the ghost bike and all that over there, and two weeks [later] it happens to the lady that doesn't deserve it," said Jeff Fryer, county commissioner of precinct 4.

Reddick had not returned to the accident site until he returned with us, showing us the exact spot where his friend was hit.

"She was riding right on the white line, as far over as she could get, and just about the fourth column before the end is where she was hit," Reddick said.

When he rides now, all he thinks about is his former riding partner. It brings tears to his eyes just to talk about tragedy.

"It's constant. It's a daily thing. I wish I hadn't even gone to the accident site," Reddick said. "I guess I’m her only friend that was there and it was, I think, her and I had been to two or three funerals for other people, and we just never thought it would be our funerals."

Reddick talked to us in fitness center that Stagner helped set up for employees of Palo Pinto County. Her infectious personality had everyone in the courthouse talking fitness.

"She took it on as a mission, and yes, it is what she believed in and she believed in sharing that mission," said Mickey West, a county judge from 1995 to 2005.

"She loved life," said David Lee, county commissioner from 1985 to 2005. "I mean, she loved life. She was always keeping people happy and loved to get involved in anything that was happening."

Stagner was also responsible for helping the county put up signs to remind motorists to share the road.

After her death, the Texas Association of Counties created the Iris Stagner Award, which will be given to a county employee within the state that exemplifies the promotion of health and fitness. The first award will be given on Monday in Austin.

"To be singled out by the Texas Association of Counties is a big honor," said Iris' widower, Butch Stagner.

In the meantime, her daughter Felicia is getting ready for the run of her life.

"This is a necklace that my mom wore a lot, especially during races and stuff, so I’m going to wear it and feel like part of her is with me," Scott said. "Just a little tennis shoe."

A tennis shoe that will help her cover the 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon, honoring her mother.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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