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Manteno podiatrist steps out in the Boston Marathon

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Dr. Robert Martin, a Manteno based podiatrist, could almost host a small marathon with all of the patients from the area that he’s served since joining Prairie Rock Foot & Ankle Clinic, Deselm Road and Route 45. He knows how important healthy feet are to a runner, not to mention their value for everyday pedestrians. But, Martin also knows how important good foot health is to a runner because he’s a runner himself. In fact, last month, he ran in the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon is a grueling 26-mile, 385-yard run with a history that goes back 116 years. This year, 22,480 runners, including a handful in wheelchairs, participated in the event. Wesley Korir of Kenya won the marathon with a time of 2:12:40. In a very real sense, however, all 21,606 runners who finished were winners.

Dr. Martin was among that group, finishing in the top 25 percent of runners in the race with a time of 3:41:24. He had hoped to do a little better but was still quite thrilled and honored to have made the run at all.

“It was a difficult day because it was so hot,” he said. “I was shooting for 30 minutes faster.”

All the same, Dr. Martin’s time was still worth kicking up his heels over. The Boston Marathon was only his third marathon. Not only that, in the two years since he started running again, he lost 80 pounds in the process.

“I just started with three miles a day, five days a week,” he said. “Mind you, those three miles were not very fast in the beginning.”

Dr. Martin said he used to run recreationally while in medical school but went about 10 years without running before he started again recently. He attributed the decision to start running again to his health and his children – a girl, Allison (5), and two boys, Sean (4) and Cameron (2).

“I had recently turned 40 and I was having some minor medical issues, including high blood pressure,” he said. “I just decided that was enough. I had let myself go long enough and I wanted to be around for my kids.”

Deciding to run and hitting the road in the Boston Marathon two years letter is not what most would consider a natural progression. Not just anyone can enter the Boston Marathon. Entrants must finish with a sufficient qualifying time in another certified marathon first.

Dr. Martin qualified for the Boston Marathon by running a 3:11:35 in Toledo’s Glass City Marathon. He also ran in the Chicago Marathon last October.

He said that motivating himself was only a struggle at first. After a while, the passion he’d once had for running returned.

“This has definitely been a positive thing for my entire family,” he said, adding that his goal is to run in more marathons.

He’s scheduled to run in the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota next October. Still, his No. 1 goal as a runner is to run the Boston Marathon again.

“It’s the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the country,” Dr. Martin said. “It’s really an honor to run in the Boston Marathon.”

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