Former vice presidential nominee and fitness aficionado Paul Ryan was widely derided when he inflated his marathon time during a radio interview last year, but one upstart Senate candidate is hoping to turn his long-distance running prowess into a political advantage.
Gabriel Gomez, a Republican running for Secretary of State John Kerry’s old Senate seat, will run the Boston Marathon in two weeks, less than a month before Massachusetts Republicans go to the polls to pick a nominee.
Gomez qualified for the race at a marathon in New Hampshire in 2011, with a time of three hours, 22 minutes and “I think like 40 seconds or something,” he told The Daily Caller in a phone interview.
“It was under 3:23,” Gomez, 47, insisted. He needed a time under 3 hours and 25 minutes to qualify.
“It’s not a Paul Ryan time. … I legitimately qualified,” he said. (RELATED: Paul Ryan admits he gave wrong marathon time)
The upcoming race will be Gomez’s sixth marathon. In 2011, when he ran his qualifying race, he ran every single day of the year, putting in a minimum of 3.1 miles a day and running three marathons. One day, he said, he would like to run a marathon on each continent.
“It’s my release,” the former Navy SEAL said.
Gomez said he qualified and registered for the race long before he “had even thought of running for Senate.” And while he certainly does not plan on using the race purely as a campaign event, he made it clear the campaign won’t be far from his mind, telling TheDC he will wear a campaign shirt reading “Gomez for U.S. Senate” when he runs.
“I’m gonna meet a lot of new people, you know, when I’m running,” he added, noting that he will not be “running to try and beat my time” — partly because campaigning has interfered with his training regimen.
Gomez said he expects that friends will cheer him along on the route, and said some will be running with him in the race.
“I’m sure that we’ll get them some campaign signs if they want them,” he said. “I’m sure there’ll be some ‘Gomez for U.S. Senate’ [signs] along the route, and that’ll keep me fired up when I pass them.”
A long portion of the race runs through the district represented by Rep. Ed Markey, the front-runner in the Democratic primary for Kerry’s seat.
“Congressman Markey is welcome to join us. We might have to extend that invitation,” Gomez said, adding that “we might have to” have campaign signs along that particular stretch of the run. “I’m not opposed to running next to Congressman Markey. I’m not opposed to that at all.”
But Gomez said Markey would have to go all out.
“He has to start at the starting line with me,” Gomez said. “He can’t join me halfway in between or something.”
Gomez might be able to outrun his opponents, but he is not the front-runner for the Republican nomination. According to a recent WBUR poll, he trails former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Dan Winslow, the two other Republicans vying for the nomination.