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Thu, Dec. 05

On eve of Whiskey Row Marathon, Prescott runner reflects on his sub-3-hour finish at Boston

Courtesy<br>Rob Turpin smiles after receiving his bib number in Boston last month.

Courtesy<br>Rob Turpin smiles after receiving his bib number in Boston last month.

For Prescott's Rob Turpin, the 10th time was the charm on one of running's grandest stages.

At the Boston Marathon April 21, Turpin, 44, posted a personal-best finish, crossing the line in 2 hours and 59 minutes flat to wind up as approximately the 2,100th finisher out of 32,000 from across the U.S. and the world.

In the 10 marathons that he's completed since 2009, it represented his first going under the 3-hour barrier, a milestone in the running community.

Turpin ran the Boston Marathon - for which every runner must qualify - for the sixth consecutive spring last month. And he intends to keep the streak alive. He wants to shave even more time off of his 2:59:00 at Boston.

After he crossed the finish line in Boston last month, Turpin said he was overcome with emotion, crying tears of joy.

"It was a magic day," Turpin said in reflection this week. "Everything came together just how I wanted it to. I was shooting for any number that started with a 2."

On April 21 in Boston, the weather was ideal, which boosted Turpin's fortunes. Turpin and his fellow runners also had the wind in their favor that morning. The 26.2-mile race is run from west to east, point-to-point.

"It (wind) was just about 4 or 5 miles an hour, but it was directly from behind us," he said. "That certainly doesn't hurt, but you've got to be up for it."

Turpin prepared well for Boston, following a dynamic training plan from a book that he had read. But, more importantly, he was healthy, well rested and in the right frame of mind to finish where he wanted to on the day of the race.

"I looked at my watch I don't know how many times to try to work a pace the whole time," he said. "Since it's such a long race, you've kind of got to figure it out over time. I don't think anyone, unless you're a really fantastic runner, can jump into a marathon and do what you think you want to do, because it's so physically and mentally demanding."

A native of Orange, Calif., Turpin didn't grow up a runner.

Currently a landscaper at Yavapai College, he didn't become interested in running until the age of 36 - once his metabolism started slowing down. He said he was determined not to gain weight and let his body deteriorate as he grew older.

"I never ran before at all," he added. "But I wanted to feel good about myself and continue to try to be in shape, mentally as well as physically."

In 2009 and again last December, Turpin ran the Tucson Marathon, where he posted his previous-best finish in 3:00:14. He has also run the Portland Marathon in Oregon. His first-ever marathon was the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll in Tempe, also in 2009. Boston seems to hold the most meaning for Turpin, though.

"It's funny," he said. "Boston is now my fastest marathon and my slowest marathon."

Later this year, on Oct. 12, Turpin will compete in the Chicago Marathon, where he'll aim for a 2:57:00 time to give him some wiggle room to improve. (He registered for that race two weeks before heading to Boston.)

After Chicago, he'll begin training for Boston again.

"It's probably not a good idea for anyone to run more than two (marathons) a year," Turpin said. "It keeps a nice base. It keeps you kind of at that level, so when you start another training cycle it's not like, 'Oh, startin' over!' "

This Saturday morning, while the Whiskey Row Marathon's taking place in downtown Prescott, Turpin said he'll be relaxing.

In 2012 and 2013, he ran the Whiskey half marathon, and every other year before that, since 2008, he ran the Whiskey 10K.

"The Whiskey Row 10K was the first race of any distance I ever ran, and so it was kind of just more of a sentimental thing (why I would run in it)," Turpin said. "This year, I want to be more careful. I want to be more conscious of health and rest. It's unnecessary for me to race any distance that close to coming off a marathon."

Nevertheless, Turpin's not ruling out a return to the Whiskey 10K in the future, provided it's not run too soon after Boston.

"I'm still kind of enjoying that time that I ran (at Boston)," Turpin added. "I don't want to cloud that really, necessarily, right yet."

Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc

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