I was very lucky this year to see something I have been working on for a long time come to fruition…a Family Marathon. I can’t remember when I first started talking about a Family Marathon but I’m pretty sure it was right around the time my older sister, Laura, got married (2011) or after my dad ran his first marathon (2012). Anyway it has been something I’ve been trying to convince my family to all do for a while. But of course I was met with some resistance…mainly by my parents who both were ‘retired’ from the 26.2 distance. And then life just kept getting in the way. In my early 20s I bounced around jobs, and the country, just making the most of my time right out of college. Laura and Andrew moved to Ghana (yes Africa!) for a 2 year stint to help develop and install clean water systems. Julie, my younger sister, married her college boyfriend Galen and moved to southeastern PA. And Mom and Dad just weren’t thrilled with the idea of running another marathon; it would be the 3rd for both of them.
But magically our marathon stars aligned and we settled on the 2016 Richmond Marathon. So by this time the Family had grown from the 5 people to 8. We had my parents, both sisters, two brother-in-laws, my girlfriend, and me. Between us we had completed 54 marathons before the start of Richmond. I had completed 35 of those but this was a race I had been looking forward to for 5 or 6 years and to see it all finally come together is something I will never forget. Aside from getting my nuclear family, and significant others, together we also got to spend time with extended family members who live in Richmond. All around it was just the perfect place and time for all of us to come together and run.
Although all of us had great races it was the time spent together as a family that really made this trip special. Okay I do have to brag a little…Julie (little sister) and I ran together and crushed her P.R. and a B.Q. with a 3:17, Galen and Andrew (brother-in-laws) both P.R.ed with 3:52s, dad ran a 3:59 at the age of 62 no less, mom ran a 4:16 and also B.Q.ed in her first marathon in 33 years and off a longest training run of 10 miles, and of course Natalie (my girlfriend) had all the fun documenting the course and making this INCREDIBLE video. The only thing that didn’t work perfectly was that Laura (older sister) was unable to run due to an Achilles injury. However I think she was more a part of this race than those of us who actually did run. She mapped out places on the course and managed to catch most of us at 3 or 4 times along the course. She also was the best race chauffer ever…managing to pretty much drop us off and pick us up right at the start and finish of the race. Having a sister who is willing to spend her morning chasing a bunch of crazies around a city only to see them for a few seconds is very special. I know how much Laura wanted to run this race and I know there is at least a Siblings Marathon in the future…I am thinking Twin Cities Marathon in 2017 or 2018.
I could go into great detail about the race and how everyone went thru hardships, persevered, and the typical race recap stuff. But I won’t. I think this incredible family experience can best be summed up in one simple sentence: ‘Spend time with the ones you love doing what you love’. Well I guess not everyone loves running as much as I do but their willingness to subject themselves to 26.2 miles on foot shows how much they love their family and that’s what this world need more of…love.