Friday, April 18, 2014

Boston Marathoner Spotlight...Rich Houston

I first met Rich when we moved down to the Cape and I started teaching at a high school there.  Rich is a history teacher at the high school and the kind of teacher who not only loves what he teaches, he gets his students to love it too!  He gets excited about the things he is passionate about and you can't help but get excited right along with him!
I had not been teaching there long when Rich invited me to come run with his running group sometime.  He used to joke that I could come but he may slow me down since he is an old man.  I quickly learned Rich's REAL running truths and while he may have slowed from his 2 hour marathon days...slow he is not!!  Rich inspires others with everything he does....just let him tell you himself!

Tell us about you.  How did you get into running?
I starting racing back in junior high school in the late 1960s. I competed in track at St. John's HS in Shrewsbury and at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. I've been running with local clubs for the last 36 years. Initially I belonged to the Great Boston Track Club, then the Central Mass Striders, and for the last 20 years the Cape Cod AC.
        How many times have you run the marathon?
I've been an official Boston entrant 28 times. If I make it this year, it will be 26 official finishes. I also ran it twice unofficially with my wife. On two occasions, I qualified but was injured and unable to run on race day. This year will make 19 in a row. 
If you could play a highlight reel of your running career, what would you include?
I set the St. John's school record for the mile: 4:18.8 in 1974 (5th in the Mass All-State Meet). I ran 4:08.9 in finishing 6th in the New England Intercollegiate Championship mile in 1977. I ran Boston in 2:30:34 in 1979.
Where were you when the bombs went off?  What event of the day sticks out for you most?
I was waiting for my baggage at the bus between Clarendon and Berkeley Streets on Boylston. I had finished about 25 minutes before the first bomb went off. We did not realize the "boom" was a bomb until the sirens and emergency personnel began to arrive. I was quite worried about family members and friends who were spread throughout the area. When the phones went out it took a while to meet up with my wife. We were unable to access the parking garage where our car was located for quite a while until security finished its assessment.
How has your training been this year?  What have been your biggest struggles/victories?
I have a great CCAC (Cape Cod Athletic Club) running gang that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We did our long runs from Brooks Park in Harwich on Saturday morning. The biggest challenge is trying to stay healthy and not overdoing it. I tried to get several weeks of 50 miles or more; my longest run was 20 2-3 weeks before race day.
What does running Boston 2014 mean to you?
I looking forward to being part of the big event that shows just how STRONG Boston and the running community really are. I hoping to keep my streak going and get requalified for next year.
Rich I'll be back at my post at mile 7 where you saw me last year!!  Maybe one day I will be able to hang with your fast legs!!!  Best of luck!!!!


  1. That is awesome! Nice to meet you Rich, I hope to be that decorated with marathons someday! I totally agree about this year just proving how strong the running community is, you guys are both proof of this and I am sure you will make the most of the opportunity. Someday I hope to be coming in the top 15 of that race .....we will see :) Good luck to you both!

  2. Unbelievable!!! I love the stories of runners who come back year after year. So cool!