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Phil Martin won Sunday’s Boston Marathon – just years after quitting his 20-a-day smoking habit.
The Peterborough AC runner crossed the finish line at Boston College in 02:34.14.
But despite his superb time, Martin is still relatively new to the sport.
“I started running five or six years ago, I used to be a 20-a-day smoker,” he said.
“I signed up to do an ultra-marathon to raise money for charity, having never run further than 5k on a treadmill.
“I never liked running, hated it at school. I used to say the only time you’d see me running was if there was a ball in front of me.”
But Martin completed that ultra-marathon, setting him on a new path.
“I went into it woefully under-prepared but I completed it, thinking I can’t let the charity down,” he added.
“During the process of training for it I started enjoying running.
“I did another ultra-marathon in South Africa the year after and, on the back of that, I started smashing my PBs and taking it more seriously. And here we are.”
Sunday was the second time Martin competed at the Boston event, beating his time of two years ago by a minute.
“I ran my quickest 2:31.23 in London two years ago,” added Martin, who will return to the London Marathon in a fortnight’s time.
“I did this (Boston) same year and ran about a minute slower than today, so it’s the quickest I’ve run this course.
“It’s alright, lonely. It’s about as flat as you’re going to get, but well supported though.”
Martin was followed over the line by Ben Harris (Retford AC), also the first veteran male 40-49 home in 2:42.28.
Kieran Hayles (Sudbury Joggers) was third home in 2:44.14.
Hannah Peel (Sheffield Triathlon Club) was the first female to cross the finish line in 3:09.32, followed by Rebecca White (Saffron Striders, 3:12.04) and Abi Gooch (Redway Runners, 3:13.02)
Marathon: Male – 1 Phil Martin (Peterborough AC) 2:31.23, 2 Ben Harris (Retford AC) 2:42.28, 3 Kieran Hayles (Sudbury Joggers) 2:44.15; Female – 1 Hannah Peel (Sheffield Triathlon Club) 3:09.32, 2 Rebecca White (Saffron Striders) 3:12.04, 3 Abi Gooch (Redway Runners) 3:13.02.
Half Marathon: Male – 1 Sean Fitzpatrick (Kent AC) 1:13.06, 2 Adam Barlow (Royal Navy Athletics) 1:14.00, 3 Mark Sands (Skegness and District AC) 1:16.17; Female – 1 Ann Kisluk (BMAF) 2:00.07; 2 Emma Hodson (Cambridge University Hare and Hounds) 1:21.36, 3 Emily Foran (Sleaford Striders) 1:27.37.
Fun Run: 1 Carl Endersby 22.19, 2 Farren Bird 22.24, Jack Williams 22.38.