Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

For Boston Marathoner, journey is what counts

Citizen Staff Writer



Not even a severe leg cramp could stop Antonio Robles from earning a spot in the Boston Marathon.

Running within the pace of the qualifying time, Robles felt his left calf tighten about 22 miles into last June’s San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll race.

“I stopped and started to massage it, then medical people took over almost immediately,” Robles recalls. “They weren’t doing anything different to my calf, and time was running out. So I took off again and struggled the next few miles.

“I would have regretted it always if I didn’t try.”

Robles, 31, ran with pain and guts, finishing with a personal best 3 hours, 10 minutes, 6 seconds – qualifying with 54 seconds to spare.

On Monday, Robles will take his place with thousands of entrants of the 113th Boston Marathon, a runner’s crowning moment. He will be one of 53 Tucson-area representatives in the sport’s classic event.

He’s determined to not let the emotion of the occasion rule.

“You can’t go out too fast, because the first part is downhill and you have tendency to do that with the excitement and adrenaline, they say, Robles says. “Then miles 16-23 is the series of hills.”

The thrill is in the journey, not the destination, Robles says of his almost lifetime love of running. That doesn’t mean he won’t try to finish hard.

“It’s the reward of running,” he says.

The Tucson native grew up in a running family and has been at it since junior high school.

He got competitively serious after running at Pima Community College. It has become a joy with social running groups, distance training and track workouts.

Appropriately, his job is at Fleet Feet, an East Side running and athletic equipment store – perfect for the task.

“People come and we talk about running, and somebody will say, ‘Yes, I’ve run Boston.’ The camaraderie is what draws me,” Robles explains. “After a marathon – there have been six for me – I want to get to the finish line and cheer people in.

“At San Diego, I remember a guy coming up behind me at the end, encouraging me on. He didn’t care so much for his time, but he was telling me, ‘C’mon, you can do it.’

“My thing is everybody has the same finish line.”


TUCSON: David Bea, Alexandra Blake, Rob Carruth, Will Conway, Kirsten Cooper, Sean Eres, James Fitzgibbon, Lisa Gentry, Krista Germeroth, Howard Gimblett, Steven Greenwell, Kathi Hanley, Sherry Hansen, Diane Harper, Kimberlyn Hicks, Melanie Hingle, Eliza Holland, Steve Hollander, Melissa Hollman, Junelle Lupiani, James Magnan, Scott McDonald, Phil McNamee, Alison Meadow, Manuel Moreno, Edward Mraz, Stacey Pearson, Shirley Reilly (wheelchair), Antonio Robles, Beth Rustand, Ricardo Samson, Judie Shyman, David Siegel, Jill Sinclair, Carrington Singmaster, Douglas Smith, Peter Snell, Gavin Sosa, Ingrid Trebisky, Wendy Vanasco, Sandy White, Doug Williams, Curt Zacharias.

ORO VALLEY: George Andersen, Monique Andersen, Scott Going, Kevin Haley, Timothy Leo, Richard Martinez, Michael O’Brien, Michele O’Brien. Wayne Schramm, Brian Watson.

VAIL: John Carruth.


What: 113th annual Boston Marathon

When: Monday

Distance: 26 miles, 385 yards

Field: 25,000

Tucson qualifiers: 53 (list, 4C)

2008 men’s winner: Robert K. Cheruiyot (Kenya), 2:07:46

2008 women’s winner: Dire Tune (Ethiopia), 2:25:25

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