BOSTON — For the elite runners at this morning’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 they’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 year’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.
“This year I have done something different and actually increased my miles,” Constantino said. “On 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.”
Along with pounding the pavement for his weekly miles, Constantino also benefits from the cross-training he utilizes for his triathlons, including weight training.
“I look at my times from previous years (at Boston) and it’s definitely a big improvement,” he said. “I know last year I ran 3:07 and the year before ran 3:10 and before that 3:11.”
“I am not going to make any promises at Boston, but I am going to try and break three hours,” he continued. “My goal always is to finish in good health whether I make the time or not. If I can do it, that would be great.”
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.
“I started off just trying to get in shape and lose weight,” he said. “Some of the guys at the fire station do marathons and triathlons and that got me going.”
Lux caught the running bug in 2008 after finishing third in his age category at the Wild Dog Sprint Triathlon in Bristol.
“I was hooked from there,” 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.
“I am really hopeful,” he said. “It’s an aggressive goal, but I think I can do it.”