It was just over three hours after the start of the Boston Marathon Monday morning that a runner approached the finish line with a burnt orange and white track shirt. On his chest was a big “A” for his hometown of Alice.
Long-time Alice runner Martin Cantu Jr. ran in and completed the historic Boston Marathon Monday. Proudly wearing a track jersey he borrowed from the Alice High School track and field program, he had reason to smile as he finished the 26-mile run along the streets of Boston. He had just realized a long-time goal he set for himself when he was a young man.
Cantu, 38, finished the run in a time of 3:28.35, which was about a minute and a half faster than his set goal of 3:30. He said his plan was to enjoy the run and take in the spectacle of it all rather than taking a competitive approach.
“I wanted to have a good time and enjoy myself,” Cantu said as he headed to the 27th Mile, which is an after-party in Boston for those who complete the race. “The ran is brutal, but it was good. I gave myself a time of three and a half hours and I finished below that, so I was happy with it.”
At the age of 21. Cantu set a goal from himself — he would one day run in the Boston Marathon, which is the world’s most famous and oldest road race. He nearly qualified for the marathon in 2002 when he ran in the Compaq Houston Marathon, but the elements took their toll on him that day and he finished some four minutes beyond the qualifying time. It was then that he put running on hold and began working.
Cantu, who works for Wells Fargo in Alice as a personal banker, began training again some 12 years later and qualified to this year’s Boston Marathon by hitting the qualifying time at the 2018 Sprouts Mesa-Phx Marathon in Phoenix, Ariz. last February.
Cantu said he plans on returning to Boston for next year’s marathon, but as a spectator and to help his running buddy, Ernie Flores of San Diego, who recently qualified to run in the 2020 Boston Marathon.