My kids have caught the running bug and its official, we have two new runners in the family. As a plan to return from eighteen months of running injuries, my wife and son joined me in a couch to 5K program. Noah was so excited that our ‘coach’ let him join the group and he faithfully practiced throughout the week. Granted some of his runs were shorted than planned. His sister was excited to play in the Child Watch room once a week, a major incentive to finish homework. Eventually, she wanted to run in a race with “Mommy” and we signed her up for the Kids Fun Run at the end of the program.

How did it go? It was awesome. Just ask my kids. Sage turned the Kids Fun Run into an obstacle course, opting to climb every bench in the field, cruising in with Mommy at about seven minutes. I’m a little annoyed they ended the race before she made it to the finish line, but quickly got over it. “Momma…I won!” waving her purple ribbon. “I won!” I simply can’t resist her joy.

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The team lined up with hundreds of other runners and my stomach was in knots. My son had trained and was wearing his new running outfit, but damn it was a large crowd. I can’t believe he’s really going to run in a race.

I have attended more than a few races and received training from the most seasoned ‘spectators’ or paparazzi, as our Auntie Donna reminds me. Capturing the best photos and ‘critical race’ moments is not a matter of luck. You have to map out the trail, enlist the help of ‘spotters’, and make friends with the race volunteers. My first hiccup was that I was watching my daughter and that automatically disqualifies you as paparazzi. I was determined to get at least one good shot of my guy. I was able to distract my daughter with a set of swings and made my way to the fence overlooking the road. I wouldn’t get the ‘finish line shot’, but I would get him rounding the corner.

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I was so excited to get this picture, I didn’t wave hello as my son was screaming, “Hi Momma…Hi Momma…Momma!!!” I did get a shot of Sharlene, but it disappeared. She was a little winded trying to keep up with our son. So…this thanksgiving I am grateful for my family of runners. This sport has brought my family joy, health, and passion. As I heal from another injury, I am grateful that not running has given me humility and determination. Next year I hope to be running with the whole family.

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