Dan and Cynthia Howard
Photos and text by Steev Riccardo
Dudley – On most days Dan Howard, 48, of Dudley can be found delivering mail on Vernon Hill in Worcester and on most nights running in his neighborhood, which is in close proximity to Shepherd Hill Regional High School, the high school he attended.
It’s the combination of these two regular activities that resulted in Howard running in the Boston Marathon this year, his fourth in a row and sixth marathon overall.
Howard grew up in Charlton, went to Shepherd Hill, where he played soccer and baseball, and more importantly, met his wife Cynthia. He has also worked as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service for the last 26 years, delivering mail in the very hilly Vernon Hill region.
It’s actually the difficult route that Howard has that keeps him in great shape but “to run a marathon it has to be a lot more than that.” He runs on a nightly basis around Shepherd Hill and the Dudley Middle School “usually every night at 7 or 8.”
Howard, who graduated from Shepherd Hill in 1981, has always loved to run. Before tackling the granddaddy of all marathons he ran the Lowell Marathon and the Cape Cod Marathon, but nothing was like what he had to endure this year.
“This year was very difficult due to the extreme heat,” he Howard. “Four thousand people chose not to participate because of the heat. Last year’s winner actually dropped out at mile18 while in the lead because of the heat.”
“My time was slower this year, but all in all I was very happy with it. They say marathoners hit a wall at mile 19 and I hit the wall at mile 7 this year and had to stop and walk about 100, 200 yards. Thank God, I just started back up and got my rhythm and tempo back and was able to get it done. It was a different ballgame this year.”
Howard gets great support from his wife Cynthia who said, “I think it’s contagious, all of us end of doing some sort of sport or exercise because we see him doing it and he makes it seem so effortless.”
Every year the entire family, which includes Howard’s mother and father, wife Cynthia and their four children, Melissa, Timothy, Matthew, and Jack, all attend the marathon together. This year was no different.
“It’s really a family effort, we are all in it together, it’s a good thing.” said Howard.
- Monday, 23 April 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News