Florence man runs for group that helped his family
After about eight years of receiving advice, education, and support from the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, Steve Hawley decided it was time to pay it back, one step at a time for seven miles.
Hawley, 45, will be running in the 40th annual New Balance Falmouth road race Aug. 13 to raise money for the organization that has helped him and his family raise a daughter with Down syndrome.
"How could I not?" Hawley asked.
Hawley said that about a year after his daughter Alice was born he attended his first Down syndrome conference in Worcester and the organization has been helping him, his wife Evie, and Alice's younger brother, Stuart, navigate the intricacies of raising a child with special needs.
Hawley said that the organization has provided information about the disease itself as well as information about diet, what expectations to set and when to back off, how to help Alice, now 9, interact with Stuart, and more.
Hawley said Alice's gross motor skills are poor, so she doesn't come with him during his three-times-a-week training sessions, but is still excited about the upcoming race.
"She understands that Daddy is running," he said.
Hawley said that he's been doing interval training, running ¾ of a mile and walking ¼ mile trying to build up his endurance for the seven-mile race in the middle of August.
"My goal is to finish," he said.
He's been getting advice and training tips from some of his co-workers, three of whom are advanced runners.
The sometimes excessive heat so far this spring and summer have made training more grueling than he expected, but has maintained his schedule and expects to be ready by race day.
Part of that preparation involved a trip to his wife's native Falmouth, to check out the course beforehand to avoid as many surprises as possible.
About a mile into the course is an uphill climb toward a lighthouse and about ¾ of the race's final mile is all uphill, before sloping downward for the race's final stretch.
Hawley said that he expected to raise about $1000, but in his heart was hoping that he might reach $2000, a goal he just surpassed last week with almost a month left to go before race day.
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