Hitting the Virtual Course (and Trying to Keep Up) with IMPACT Advocate, Richard Houston

Jul 14, 2020

There are so many different ways you can get involved with a non-profit organization. So many different ways you can make a positive impact on your community. We here at IMPACT Melanoma are so grateful for our loyal pool of advocates, donors, and volunteers – we couldn’t do any of this without each and every one of you!

Today we’d like to place the spotlight on Richard Houston. Richard is one of our runners for Team IMPACT during the Boston Marathon, which, unfortunately was cancelled this year and being run by individuals in a virtual setting. Richard is going above and beyond by keeping his fundraising goals in sight and will be participating in the Medford2Medford virtual run as well – both treks feeding the other utilizing our Virtual Team IMPACT platform. It’s a good and fun way to do good while doing good (in any event you can possibly think up!)

When Richard isn’t on the “course” he’s in the classroom, and it’s here that he takes advantage in positioning IMPACT Melanoma’s, Your Skin Is In program with students at Monomoy Regional High School in Harwich, Massachusetts. Learn more about everything Richard is up to in our recent conversation with him, and please join us in giving this man a well-deserved round of applause! We appreciate you, Richard! Thank YOU! 

IMPACT Melanoma: Tell us how you’re passing the time given “the times”? What’s keeping you busy? What have you learned since the pandemic hit?

Richard Houston: I was teaching “remotely” from March until June 23rd. Over last few weeks, I’ve been doing a history seminar and a teachers institute virtually. I’ve been able to keep up my workouts (mostly on my own) except for a brief break for a medical issue. I’ve learned that social distancing is harder than I thought it would be, especially regarding my extended family.

IM: With the unfortunate cancellation of the Boston Marathon this year and the re-imagining of the B.A.A. to have runners complete the race virtually, tell us your plans as a member of the Team IMPACT?

Houston: I am registered for the virtual B.A.A., which I will probably run down here on Cape Cod. I think I will map out a course on the “rail trail.” Although the economic impact of the pandemic has put a crimp on fundraising, I’m giving a final push before the September virtual race. I’m planning some raffles and other incentives.

IM: You’re also tackling the virtual Medford 2 Medford trek. You don’t stop, do you? How do these two races both “feed” each other? And tell us how you got interested in and so vested in running…

Houston: I’m a member of the B.A.A. Quarter Century Club QCC (runners who have 25 or more official Boston finishes) and Dave McGillivray, B.A.A. Race director, is one of our senior members. His organization DMSE put together a virtual cross country relay (Medford, OR to Medford, MA) to commemorate Dave’s fundraiser from 42 years ago. Some of the QCCers put together a team to honor and support Dave. Here’s the link to our status: https://reg.resport.io/challengechart.jsp?re=5844494188544000 The M2M allows fundraising for a variety of organizations so I’ve set my account to link to my Team IMPACT donation page: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/impact-melanoma/richardhouston2

I’ve been running competitively since my first cross country race in 1969. I ran in high school (St. John’s Shrewsbury) (5th in state mile championship 4:18) and college (Holy Cross) (6th in NE mile championship 4:08). Since then I’ve competed with my clubs (Great Boston, Central Mass Striders, and now Cape Cod Athletic Club).

IM: What excites you about hitting the pavement in a “virtual” environment? Is there as much enjoyment in going at it alone? Do you lose some of the spark and energy that goes along with lining up with a sea of runners or is this just another “day at the office” for you, a man who has run in over 50 marathons to date?

Houston: I would much prefer training and racing with others. I miss the social aspect of my running activities. Virtual is the best back up plan. That being said, I also love being out in the woods and on the beaches of Cape Cod while I’m running on my own. This will be my 32nd official Boston (25th consecutive). Best: 2:30:34 back in 1979.

IM: What do you appreciate about being a part of IMPACT’s virtual team? You can literally apply team membership to any race or event you can dream up with the virtual platform behind it. Kind of neat!

Houston: This year is different from others; usually all my fundraising is funneled through Boston in April.

IM: In general you seem to be a big advocate of IMPACT Melanoma. Why? What about the mission inspired/inspires you?

Houston: I’ve been dealing with melanoma for over 15 years; fortunately timely excisions have kept me safe and healthy. Several members of my family have also had it as well as other forms of cancer. This is my small way of fighting back. I’m also a high school teacher and this highlights preventive measures that are properly targeted at youth.

IM: On top of being one of our runners, you also presented our Your Skin Is In eLearning platform in your classroom. Where and what do you teach? What do you appreciate about this particular curriculum? How do students respond and why is it such a valuable asset to both teachers and students?

Houston: I teach history at Monomoy Regional High School. I collaborate with a biology teacher on this issue. We focus on the spring during prom season when some are tempted to frequent tanning salons, but being a beach culture area we extend the learning to full sun safety. The educational resources and sun safety materials (wrist bands, lip balm screen, etc.) provided by IMPACT are great.

IM: What else do you have planned for summer? Anything fun?

Houston: I also enjoy biking, sailing, golfing, and fishing down here on the Cape.


For more information on our Virtual Team, click here.

For more information on our Your Skin Is In program, click here.

Or, just drop us a line to say hello. We’d love to hear from you!

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