Taking challenges in stride; Abington resident runs Boston Virtual Marathon locally on Labor Day

Abington resident Jack Houghton loves a good challenge. 

Back in September 2018, Houghton vowed to make health and wellness a priority by losing 130 pounds after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery. Committing to a complete lifestyle transformation of eating habits and dietary changes there was one thing that Houghton did not change; his love of exercise. It is that love and drive that has enabled him to take on lofty challenges such as running and completing the New York City Marathon.

Houghton was scheduled to run the Boston, Chicago, and New York City marathons in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately cancelled each of those races.  Proving to be just a mere road block, Houghton decided to take on the 2020 Boston Virtual and Chicago Virtual Marathons with his Boston Virtual Marathon taking place on Labor Day, September 7.

Starting at the Woodsdale Elementary School at 6 a.m., Houghton took to the streets pounding the pavement through Abington, Rockland, Hanover and Weymouth, running approximately 10 minute miles.

During the last two miles of the race, Houghton was joined by his daughter, McKinley.  The pair crossed the finish line together around 11 a.m. at Woodsdale greeted heartily by the community, family, friends and a crew from WCVB.

Houghton shares his personal journey on his site: marathonaftergastricsleeve.com. 

“I tell it like it is.  I will talk about the good times and the not-so-good times as they relate to gastric sleeve and turning my life around. I will share the challenges I encounter while training for a marathon, and hopefully the glorious feeling of achievement when I pass the finish line,” said Houghton.

“I am running the 2020 Virtual Boston Marathon, the 2020 Virtual Chicago Marathon, the 2021 Boston Marathon and the 2021 Chicago Marathon on behalf of the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation,” said Houghton, who has raised over $16,000 for the Coombs Foundation to date. 

Due to the pandemic, Houghton will need to continue to fundraise for a spot in the 2021 Boston Marathon.  Anyone considering making a donation can visit:  https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/2021-boston-marathon-jeffrey-coombs-memorial-foundation.

The Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation is a non-profit, 501C-3 organization founded in memory of Jeff Coombs, an Abington father of three who died on September 11, 2001 in the WTC Terrorist Attacks.

“A lot of good has come out of a tragic thing,” Houghton said.

Each September the Foundation sponsors the Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race, Walk and Family Day, raising about $50,000 annually. However, due to the pandemic, the foundation is sponsoring the 19th Annual Jeff Coombs Memorial Virtual 5k, Walk and Family Day on September 6-13, 2020. Participants can still sign up for the event at: https://racewire.com/register.php?id=11691.

According to their website, “The 5K road race/walk has become a highly anticipated event in the town and is well known beyond the streets of Abington. Participants to the event have come from cities throughout the state, as well as New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, California, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.”

For more information on the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation visit:  http://www.jeffcoombsfund.org.

Written by Michele Christian

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