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Dave Constantino has been competing in marathons for a decade, and when it came down to recalling the hottest ones he has run, the Cumberland resident didnât hesitate to bring up the 26.2-mile adventure he encountered on Monday at the Boston Marathon.
âThat was probably the hottest marathon I have ever done out of the 10 years I have been competing,â Constantino said on Tuesday morning while he was ârecuperatingâ at Scarborough Beach. âThat was unbelievable. It was a tough one. It was a tough one for everybody.â
Constantino, who was running in his eighth straight Boston Marathon, posted a 3:04:46 time in last yearâs race and had his sights set on breaking the three-hour barrier. At the half marathon mark, his time hit 1:28:32, but shortly after the 25K (15.3 miles) mark, he was slowing down to eight-minute miles. He ended up with a 3:14:56 time.
âIt was 84 degrees when the gun went off,â he reported. âBy the time we got into Copley Square [in Boston], it was almost 90. I actually drank one cup of water and dumped one cup on top of me every mile just to keep cool. Thatâs how hot it was.
âI knew I wasnât going to fulfill my goal. There was no way because it was too hot and I didnât want to push it too hard because I didnât want to suffer from heat stroke because I know what thatâs like. But I stuck it out. I didnât want to give up. I just kept going and going and going, and finally I got there at the finish line.
Constantino, who placed third overall in a 3:07:13 time in his last marathon, the New Hampshire Marathon last Oct. 1 in Bristol, N.H., went to Boston with four of his friends from the Triathlon Club of New England, including Pawtucketâs Robert Lux.
Constantino, Lux (3:49:07), and the rest of their group finished the race, but there were others who never saw the final stretch on Boylston Street.
Of the 22,480 runners that answered the starterâs gun, close to 1,000 were unable to deal with the heat and finish the race. The volunteers who worked the water and Gatorade stops did so at a frantic pace, and the medical tents lined up along the course were also filled with activity.
âThere was one poor girl who passed out after Heartbreak Hill and they had to carry her away,â said Constantino. âWhen I hit Heartbreak Hill, there were a few people struggling up that. Even myself -- I ran up the hill, not fast, but I got up there, but a lot of people walked and they were really hurting.â
Actually, 26,556 runners were signed up for the race, but two days before it, the Boston Athletic Association implemented a deferment option, giving those who didnât wish to brave the heat and start the race an opportunity to register for next yearâs marathon.
âThat was never in my mind,â offered Constantino. âI know it was an option, and Iâm surprised they actually gave that option, but I was going to run this. This was my eighth consecutive race and I didnât want to miss it. I said âIâm going to stick it out. Iâm not going to let the heat stop me.â â