"My dad has been running as long as I can remember. He would leave his work clothes at the office and complete a daily 16-mile commute on foot to be back home in time for dinner. Having grown up with an ultra-running Superman for a dad made me think that running ridiculous distances was normal. Not that it particularly interested me at that time. And he was fine with that - never once did he push me to join cross country or urge me to go out for track.
"It wasn't until I discovered running on my own in college that I began to tap him for the resource that he is. We spent hours together on the trails logging miles during my time at home, me grilling him about his race experiences and seeking advice on long distance running. He told me stories of getting lost in the woods (and sleep-running), how to find your way back to the trail (always go up the mountain so you can see the way back down), the best way to fall during a run (hands first, but always remember to stop your watch on the way down) and numerous life lessons learned from the sport (the negative experiences are the ones that can teach us the most). We've since completed many races together including my first marathon, hundreds of memorable miles, countless stories and words of wisdom that I will cherish forever."
"My dad decided to register me for the Cooper River Bridge run when I was 12. It was my first ever race. I fell off the bridge. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were on the first ascent (of the old bridge), and I said "Dad, I'm going for it. Watch me beat the crowd by jumping on this handrail. THERE'S NO ONE RUNNING ON IT?!" Feeling free + clear I turned on my 12-year-old jets. It was exhilarating. I was beating moms + old people, little children just like me. I was on top of the world (or the handrail of a bridge). I think my dad said something like "you should probably get down." To this day I do believe I was slightly nudged by a mom with a stroller (THEY ARE BANNED NOW!) + suddenly without warning the bridge came back to me. I lay strewn across the Cooper River Bridge looking upwards at my dad + the rusty steel (no wonder they tore it down). Mangled, down, but not out. By dad picked me up. We finished."
"My dad loves telling the story of his first 10K. It was the mid-’70s. He’d played sports all his life, and though he wasn’t running regularly at the time, he’d gone on a couple of jogs to prepare himself. He was wearing an old pair of Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoes. A day or two before the race, he realized that the midsole of one shoe had cracked in half, but he figured that a strip of duct tape should hold it for at least 6 miles. It was a painful day.
"These days he’s wiser with his shoe choices. He gets in his three-mile loop a couple of days a week in his trusty Mizunos. He still probably wouldn’t call himself a runner, but I think it counts. Over my years of running, he’s been a great support. He’s come to every marathon I’ve run, consulting the map beforehand and carefully plotting a course that allows him to cheer me on in as many spots as possible along the way. Afterward he’s always there to stand over me while I lie on the ground in pain and ask me, “Why do you do this to yourself? Can you just run a half marathon next time?” But I know he’s proud. I can’t wait to run with him at the beach in August!"