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Mom and Teen Share First of Many Running Experiences

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing from so many parents and children about their running relationships over the past month, it seemed fitting to end the series with a beginning. A story of a first experience that will inevitably lead to so much more. Hearing from Ria and her teenage daughter Anna was a wonderful way to close out this series that’s so near and dear to my heart.

When a touching picture of Ria Farmer and her 15-year-old daughter Anna running a race together was spotted on Facebook, I was excited to ask her about their running relationship. Assuming this was a common occurrence for this mother and daughter, I was surprised to learn that the photogenic moment was a first for the women.

“Last weekend was our first race that we ran together,” said Ria, of the Ballet Wichita 5k Art Run.

Ria explained how having her daughter at her side during the race was a fantastic addition to the experience.

“It was fun being with her. I think the highlight was crossing the finish line together. It was nice to encourage each other along the way, saying things like ‘you can do this,’ ‘you are a strong person,’ and ‘you have been training for this race.’ It really helps to hear words of encouragement along the way. We also had fun! Which I think is super important in a race.”

Ria has been running for many years and with each decade she seems to get more serious and more intense about her training. She’s gone from running 5ks and 10ks in her thirties to running half marathons and even triathlons in her forties. In fact, just last week she completed her second Half Ironman triathlon in Napa. Ria and her husband train for triathlons together and hope they’re being a good role model for their daughter.

“Anna sees us training all the time. We have completely changed our nutrition, hydration, sleep, and lifestyle. Anna sees us and we hope she is influenced by our lifestyle,” said Ria.

It seems that Anna has. She’s been running since her sixth grade year by participating in cross country and track. Ria explained that Anna has learned the value of running and active living at an early age.

“She understands that if you are in a bad mood or upset about something, a good run, bike ride, or swim can change your whole mood for the better,” said Ria.

The Farmers seem to have laid a great foundation for a long future of running together. They shared their first race together this summer and Ria left the experience saying, “it feels great to share a sport with her.”

It’s so exciting to see the beginning of a running relationship. Knowing what running has offered me and my family, I get very excited for the great things that will come for these two. The highs and lows of running can really bond two people like few other things can. When a triumph over struggle plays out during a run, those traits are easily transferred into relationships. There’s nothing more precious than literally going through a race with your child or parent and finally making it to the finish line. It’s a beautiful picture of “I’m in this to the end with you.”

If you haven’t gone for a run with your child, you’re missing out. Whether it’s just down the street, through a 5K, or by their side through a marathon, the distance doesn’t matter. Just go for a run, it might just change both of your lives.

August 7th, 2012

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