- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - When Cecilio Martinez prepares for a long-distance footrace, he, like others, throws on running clothes and laces up running shoes.

But for this 46-year-old Logansport resident and business owner, there’s one other important race day item: His sombrero.

He often dons one for treks he completes in the area, region, country and abroad. The broad-brimmed Mexican hat complements what for him has been a decades-long pastime that allows him to overcome challenges while forging friendships.

Martinez recalled starting to run for fun and school as a teenager growing up in Mexico.

He moved to Chicago at the age of 17 to work in one of his friend’s father’s restaurants before learning to bake.

In 2000, Martinez moved to Logansport and opened Panaderia Country Bakery with his wife in the city’s downtown the following year. He said the past 17 years have made him grateful for the way the community backs his business and running events.

“They support us and the business and the races,” he said.

Martinez regularly participates in runs from 5Ks to marathons. He’s raced in events in Logansport and the surrounding area as well as across the state and in Chicago. Last year he traveled to Florida for races and completed the Berlin Marathon the year before.

He estimates he’s run in about 12 marathons and about 20 half-marathons.

Of all his runs, he said his favorite was a series of races over several days at Disney World in Orlando totaling 48.6 miles. Completing it all results in seven medallions cast with characters like Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, Goofy and Dopey. He said he admired the runs for their amusement park backdrop and the Disney personalities among the spectators.

One of Martinez’s sombreros traveled all 26 miles through Germany’s capital in the Berlin Marathon in 2015.

“When I finished the race, somebody said, ‘Hey, I like your hat!… It’s hard to find a sombrero here in Germany,’” Martinez recalled.

So he took off his sombrero, turned around and gave it to her, he added.

The annual Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis and Chicago’s Hot Chocolate 15K/5K every fall are other favorites.

“It’s very cold and when you finish the race, they give you a bowl with chocolate, banana and hot cocoa,” he said of the Hot Chocolate event.

His hardest race, he said, was Sunburst in South Bend, which includes a 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon every summer.

“It’s too hot,” Martinez said.

He even has a medal in the shape of a sombrero, signifying his completion of the Cinco de Miler, a 5-mile race held every year in Chicago.

Later this month, he intends to run in the F3 Lake Half Marathon in Chicago, then the Winter Trail Frosty in Indianapolis in February and would like to travel to Spain for a marathon this spring.

Martinez said he runs a lot both for fun and to prepare for the events, sometimes as much as 16 miles a day. Properly preparing is just as much mental as it is physical, he said, going on to describe the thoughts that often haunt him as he reaches the halfway point of a marathon.

“Another 13 miles to start again!” he recited resentfully. “Your mind’s playing with you… And mile 20 you feel like you’re dead. It’s like breaking the wall.”

Martinez said he used to listen to music during races, but found it blocked a sound he enjoyed even more.

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune, https://bit.ly/2iIUjUJ

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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