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BOSTON â€” For the elite runners at this morningâ€™s Boston Marathon, the goal is to be the first to cross the finish line.
For several of the other participants, including Cumberland residents and forty-something runners Dave Constantino and Robert Lux, a winning performance is defined by the numbers on the clock when they reach their final destination at Copley Square.
Constantino and Lux, a pair of triathletes as well as good friends, those numbers theyâ€™re hoping begin with a two. In other words, a sub three-hour effort.
The 41-year-old Constantino, a veteran of 16 marathons, will be making his seventh consecutive appearance at Boston. In last yearâ€™s event, he clocked his fastest time at the historic race, finishing with a 3:07 clocking.
He owns a best of 3:03.50, set at the 2009 Maine Marathon in Portland.
â€śThis year I have done something different and actually increased my miles,â€ť Constantino said. â€śOn my long runs I now do 25 miles instead of 20. I want to get my body prepared for the distance and break that three-hour barrier. But it all depends on how I feel on Monday.â€ť
Along with pounding the pavement for his weekly miles, Constantino also benefits from the cross-training he utilizes for his triathlons, including weight training.
â€śI look at my times from previous years (at Boston) and itâ€™s definitely a big improvement,â€ť he said. â€śI know last year I ran 3:07 and the year before ran 3:10 and before that 3:11.â€ť
â€śI am not going to make any promises at Boston, but I am going to try and break three hours,â€ť he continued. â€śMy goal always is to finish in good health whether I make the time or not. If I can do it, that would be great.â€ť
Lux, 45, is a newcomer to the 26.2-mile distance. But the Cranston firefighter has made huge strides since taking up the sport only a few years ago.
â€śI started off just trying to get in shape and lose weight,â€ť he said. â€śSome of the guys at the fire station do marathons and triathlons and that got me going.â€ť
Lux caught the running bug in 2008 after finishing third in his age category at the Wild Dog Sprint Triathlon in Bristol.
â€śI was hooked from there,â€ť he said.
Lux competed in his first marathon last year on May 2, finishing the Cox Providence Marathon with a credible time of 3:28:38.7. In only his second attempt at the distance, he improved on that time dramatically at the Bay State Marathon on Oct. 17, placing 165th among the 1,566 finishers with a net time of 3:07:33.
That race has given him confidence that a sub-three is within reach.
â€śI am really hopeful,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s an aggressive goal, but I think I can do it.â€ť