Every July 4th the wife and I run the Lake Mahopac 8 Mile Classic. The race circles one of New York’s most buautiful bodies of water, and also happens to take place in my hometown.

This year, for the first time, when the event ended they held a 1/4-mile race for kids. It cost $1, with all proceeds going to charity. My son, Emmett, is 3. My daughter, Casey, is almost 7. Both ran—and it was a true thrill.

Casey is unathletic. V-e-r-y unathletic. She initially didn’t want to participate, but when she saw the 25 (or so) other kids lined up, she jumped in. My son isn’t Michael Jordan, but he’s pretty fast, extremely determined and solidly coordinated. He was all go.

Both kids were wearing sandals. Casey took off and was leading Emmett for about half the race. Then she tired, looked back and said, “Come on, Emmett!” He caught up to her, then—with her blessing—passed. His face was scruched with determination, his arms pumping, his eyes straight ahead. He chugged his way around, crossed the finish line, then received his medal. Casey crossed a few seconds later, with my wife’s urging. She got her medal, too.

Can’t fully explain the ecstacy here, but I’ll try. This was the same track where I ran three years of high school track and XC (our races ended with a lap). So it was neat, seeing them line up on the same line I did, leaning forward, waiting for the start, fists clenched, hearts beating. Plus, I love running. L-o-v-e it.

Hopefully, they will too.

2 thoughts on “Running”

  1. Cool
    I love kids, all ages. There is something really magic about that 3-8 year old range that is totally fun. The imaginations go wild.
    I was a runner too.
    I live in Eugene, ever been here? You would LOVE it.
    Runners paradise. Instead of the stands being filled with a few friends and family they track meets are filled with spectators.
    This Saturday there were 12,834 spectators at the Prefontaine Classic.
    In the mile, this year, twenty runners, in two separate races, broke the 4-minute barrier.

  2. And inevitably somewhere someone is saying, “damn PC, every kid gets a medal. That’s what’s ruining this country.”

    Jeff, congratulations on watching your children literally follow in your footsteps. I know that joy.

    Your kids were probably thrilled to get that medal and will keep it for a long, long time. Hopefully that encourages them to stay involved in positive activities like running and other sports.

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