Originally published April 14, 2019 at 02:46p.m.

Updated April 15, 2019 at 06:00a.m.

PRESCOTT — When Prescott resident Matt Koehler crossed the finish line at the 2018 Rock n’ Roll Marathon in Phoenix, a near life-long dream finally came true.

Koehler, who finished 98th overall with a 3:24.39 time at the full marathon in Phoenix, qualified for the 2019 Boston Marathon by just seconds.

Racing in the 45 to 49 age group, Koehler, now 50, had to come in at 4 minutes and 56 seconds faster than his age group’s qualifying time of 3 hours and 30 minutes at a qualifying event, which means he had to finish last year’s marathon in 3:25.04. He just made the cut.

When the Kansas native first started running marathons a decade ago, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever qualify.

“What happened is, 10 or 11 years ago, I was never a runner. I played football in college, so I was a decent athlete. I ran to get into shape, and a good friend mine … he had run some marathons at the time. He qualified for Boston and ran the Boston,” Koehler said in a phone interview Sunday with the Courier from Boston. “He got me excited about that, and I had never run a marathon before.”

Koehler continued to train and with his marathon times improving, tried his first Rock n’ Roll Marathon “eight or nine years ago.”

“I ran the Phoenix Rock n’ Roll Marathon … missed [the qualifying time] by 1:04,” Koehler said. “I’m not real big on failure. I ran in the Tucson one two years later and got sick, so I didn’t finish.”

Last year, he tried one more time, and was successful.

Now on Monday, Koehler will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other runners on Patriots’ Day, embarking on a 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to downtown Boston.

Koehler is scheduled to start his race at 10:25 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, or 7:25 a.m. Arizona time.

For more on Koehler and his result at the 2019 Boston Marathon, watch The Daily Courier and dCourier.com. Live coverage of the event will be on NBC Sports Network, or online at cbsboston.com.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email bbergner@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.