When I was a kid, my Dad was thirty pounds overweight and smoked a pipe. After Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic Marathon, the running boom in America started and my Dad was at the start. He used to run around Beaver Lake and everyone thought he was a nut. His first race was the Mayfair Half Marathon and I went along and rode my bike. He had me bring food in case he got hungry.....a bag full of M & M’s. He graduated from half-marathons and started to run the NYC marathon. I will always remember waiting by the phone for the call to see how he did and what his time was. He always wanted to beat four hours and I think it took him 3 times to break the mark.
He always liked to go running with me and I can't say as I ever really enjoyed it. Ping pong, YES. Running, No Thanks. A few years later I started to get into running and so I told my Dad one year for his Christmas gift that I would run the Boston Marathon with him. He loved it. We ended up running Boston three times and it is one of the great memories that I have of him. It is because my Dad became a fitness nut that a lot of doors opened for me. Because he started running, I started running; because he ran a Marathon, I ran a Marathon. Because I ran a Marathon, I had the stupidity to do an Ironman. Because I did an Ironman, I figured I could ride Etape Du Tour which is a race held in France every year over the toughest stage in the Tour. I have done five in a row and it is my favorite athletic event.
And so for Christmas this year, I asked my son Richie for my gift to run a Marathon with me. "Sure", he said. And we went from there. NYC was picked; in part to honor my Dad. The marathon was this past Sunday and we..............finished!!! Even ahead of Jarod, the Subway guy, and the Chilean miner. Most importantly, we had a great time. It got a little ugly out there and we had to dig deep to get the deal done, but Richie rallied for the last four miles and it was an AWESOME event. My Father would have been very proud. I was.