It was 1984, and Freddie Carvalho was sitting in his Fairhaven home enjoying his breakfast, and getting prepared to head for a point nine miles south of Province Town on Cape Cod. There he would anchor the senior men’s GNBTC Relay Team. His running buddy, Al Days, was working his way through the second to last leg of twelve miles, the tough rolling hills on 6A Barnstable, Brewster and Orleans would be the town signs he would see. Ken Daniels, ever the early riser left in the dark early morning hours, he had a leg along Rte. 3 before heading over the Sagamore Bridge and on to the Cape.
Fred Brown was the organizer of this race, and it was limited to 250 teams. The GNBTC fielded and paid the entry for two men’s and women’s teams. And, yes there was a waiting list. The number one club, those younger guys battled the likes of the BAA, Central Mass Striders, and Greater Boston.
Running has always been and remains a part of our lives. After completing 69 jumps as paratrooper, Freddie settled in his home town of Fairhaven, met Al Days, and the two of them would go on to train and run the likes of the Silver City, Newport, and Boston marathons just to name a few. They would race against each other, and trains. They were running partners for life.
Al Days would quit being a very successful electrician, turn that over to his Son, Al. He and his wife Flo would create one of the best Running Stores around, Day’s Health and Sports. It was the place runners would meet on Friday nights go for a run, return to the store where Al had the Gator Aide waiting, then head over to Barbaro’s for pizza and beer.
Ken and I took a different turn in the sport, I started JB’s for the sole purpose of helping small races get bigger. Ken became the backbone of volunteers. He made sure the New Bedford Half Marathon had ample supplies for that now very prestige event. He insisted that small local races were able to use that equipment at no cost to conduct their races. It remains that way today. Today The Ken Daniels Award is given yearly to a volunteer at the New Bedford Half Marathon.
So all of us met one morning at the DD in Acushnet, and shared our running stories. Freddie is 89. Al is 85. Ken is 83. Me, the baby of the group, 75. All of us proud to be runners, and grateful for the life it help to give us.