Unless there was a ball involved, Bill Spittler of Norwich said he used to avoid running. Harry Gardner, also of Norwich, has had an off and on friendship with running most of his life
Spittler, 54, and Gardner, 58, each completed their first Boston Marathon Monday, April 21. The Norwich residents earned spots in the 25,000-runner field with qualifying times at the Mohawk-Hudson Marathon last fall.
For Spittler, it was his seventh marathon since taking up running about six or seven years ago. “I kind of started running when my son Steven was in the eighth grade,” Spittler said. “I started with Pete Anderson, and just ran with him. He had hurt his back and got back into running, and he talked me into running my first marathon.”
Gardner competed in track and field throughout his childhood, and was a state meet qualifier as a high school student living in Hingham, Mass. on the south shore of Boston. He ran the mile and two-mile races on the track team, was involved in indoor track and field, and ran cross country in the fall. “I did pretty well in high school, and I’ve stopped and started (running) several times since then,” Gardner said, who says he would often grow tired of running, and move away from it for a bit before returning to the sport.