Last weekend, Trinidadian Dexter Webb qualified for the Boston Marathon, after finishing the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a time of three hours, 21 minutes and 57 seconds.
His time puts him among the small group of amateur runners who can complete a marathon fast enough to be able to apply to run Boston’s iconic road race.
Unlike other marathons that have lotteries and other ways for the general public to participate, Boston requires applicants to run a marathon in a certain time for their age and gender.
The qualifying standard is achieved by roughly the top 10 percent of marathoners, giving Boston its stature as the world’s most prestigious marathon.
Men aged 45-49 must run a marathon under three hours and 25 minutes to qualify.
Webb, 45, ran his first long-distance race, a neighbourhood 10K, at age 39 and his first marathon two years later.
He said: “If you had told me when I ran that 10K, that one day I would qualify for Boston, I wouldn’t have paid you any mind.
I didn’t know anything about distance running — far less marathons. I didn’t even think I could finish a marathon.”
Chicago was his ninth marathon overall and second time running in that city.
Earlier this year he ran the Trinidad and Tobago Marathon, finishing the run from St Mary’s Junction, Freeport to the Queen’s Park Savannah in three hours and 52 minutes.
“The T&T marathon is the hardest I’ve done.
The heat and humidity were no joke,” said Webb.
Webb also said he was pleased to qualify in Chicago, one of the six major marathons, on a day when temperatures were less than ideal for running 26.2 miles — the official marathon distance. He said: “It was unseasonably warm, making the second half of the race much harder than other runners and I had planned for.”
Webb has completed two other major marathons — Berlin and New York City — and aims to complete the other three: Boston, London and Tokyo.
In addition to being a late bloomer, Webb said his weight was a challenge he had to overcome.
“I weigh over 200 pounds, so I’m not really built for running long distances at a fast clip.
It’s something I had to work hard at the past few years. But I’m thankful to have discovered an ability and passion for running. It’s been a blessing in many ways,” said Webb.
Webb was raised in L’Anse Mitan Road, Carenage and attended Richmond Street Boys, Woodbrook Secondary and Queen’s Royal College.
After completing undergraduate studies at UWI St Augustine, he moved to New York for graduate school at Columbia University. He currently lives in Brooklyn.