Running In Dad’s Footsteps

This post is definitely more the running side of the blog and is actually quite a personal one, so thank you ahead of time for reading it!

Quick Background

I did not start running until I was 24 years old having had exercise-induced asthma for most of my life. My asthma always used to kick up if I tried running much at all so it kept me from being involved in more strenuous sports, like soccer. However, as I began to run (jog), I learned to manage things a little better and have actually had very few problems with asthma while running. My goal when I started running was to run one marathon and that was going to be it. Well, that is like taking one trip on points – one just gets you hooked! 🙂

So, that began my running life. Since that time, I have run almost 40 marathons/ultramarathons (races longer than a marathon) and have run dozens of shorter races as well. Though I run mostly alone (especially since being in Greece), it does not bother me. I actually like it as this is a nice, quiet time that I enjoy. But, even though I enjoy the quiet, I have always looked forward to the day that one of my kids might want to run with me.

The Present

Fast forward to now. That time has come and has actually come much earlier than I had thought. Our oldest son, Charlie (just turning 5), knew I was running the half-marathon here in Thessaloniki again in October and he asked how far it was. I did my best to explain it. He understood quickly that it was waaayy too far for him! 🙂 He asked if there was a shorter race and I told him there was – a 5K. He asked if he could run that with me (that race takes place 2 hours after my half). I told him we could start running and see what he thinks.

Well, we are on week 3 of him running and slowly stretching his distance out and he is loving it. But, as much as he is loving it, I am loving it a lot more. I am careful to let him do the lead on the running and we make a fun time out of it. When he wants to stop for a water break, we stop. We have a lot of trees along our running path (planted and spaced evenly) so we use those for “run fast, run slow” time.

Today, he ran his farthest distance ever – 2 miles. He had the biggest smile on his face and kept talking about looking at it on the computer when we got home (the mapping function on Garmin Connect). He could not stop talking about it and was really happy.

Of course, I am careful with him and observe him carefully during and after our runs, but he is just a young boy having a great time. We are actually having conversations as we run and stop on occasion if we see something interesting along our path or if he wants to go a different way to check something out. It is much more fun than I thought running with my child would be and I am happy he is excited about doing it. More than training for anything, it is nice just to have this extra sliver of time with him and see him doing something he really enjoys.

He has a poster of mine from the St. George Marathon in his room and asked when he can run that race with me. 🙂 I told him that we will talk about that in a few years – just enjoy the one he is aiming for now and he can think about that one down the road.

Do you have kids that enjoy running with you? What are some things you do to make those runs more fun and interesting? I am also curious at what age your child (or you) ran your first race.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.