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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.
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Running Bonds Mother and Teen Daughter in the Wee Hours of Morning

Did you ever get up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday as a teenager? Did you ever do it on a weekly basis by choice? Doubtful. I also doubt you got up at that hour to go run with your mother. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a very special mother and daughter bond grow as the pair share a love of running with one another in the wee hours of the morning.

Mary Alice and Cassie Hollenback are both fantastic runners. They are in several running groups together, they travel and cheer for each other at races, and if there are medals to be won these two manage to always snag one. Oh, and they are mother and daughter too.

While it’s not too uncommon to see adults show up for group runs at the crack of dawn on Saturdays, seeing young Cassie among the crowd is. Most of her peers are surely hours from waking and she’s typically already warmed up and has a few miles under her belt before most of the usual running crowd rolls in. But she’s not alone with her running partner, Mary Alice (aka mom), at her side.

So, how did they get to this point? How does a teen and her mother become a great running team? Mary Alice said it took some prodding.

“I had to prod her when we first started running together. It was summer and hot out, we ran on the boring dusty dirt roads, and it wasn’t fun for Cassie at all, so I had to quickly come up with a plan to keep her running…so then we started running most of the time with groups. Also, after running I would take her out to eat or just for an ice cream cone to make the running experience fun for her.”
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Born Runners, This Father and Son Team Seal Their Bond Between Finish Lines

Many runners will drop the phrase “born to run” when describing their love of the sport. However, it seems that some people were truly made more specifically for that purpose. When a little boy starts giving up morning cartoons at age 5 to go run with his daddy, it seems arguable that maybe he really was born with it.

Jeremiah Herrman and his son Brayden have shared the love of running for most of Brayden’s young life. Brayden is 7 and has had a hefty running career already. Jeremiah is a runner and triathlete and explained how Brayden began his love of running by simply attending races to watch his dad. Afterward he’d imitate dad at home.

“He showed interest by playing at home like a runner. ‘Watch me dad, see how fast I am?!’ We encouraged him. ‘Yes B, you’re so fast! Show us again!’ He would zoom across the yard with his little uncoordinated legs pumping as fast as possible,” said Herrman.

Brayden participated in small tot races beginning at the age of three. These short runs weren’t enough to satisfy the little runner building on the inside though. “By five, I would come home from a long training run to find him waiting for me at the door in his running garb, and we would run a half to full mile cool down together,” said Herrman.
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An Olympic Marathon Trials Hopeful Turns Her 6-Year-Old into a 5K Finisher

Our actions truly speak louder than words, especially when it comes to our kids. The choices we make every day have an impact on our children whether we intend for them to or not. For Kris Lawrence, mother of three and competitive marathoner, her daily workouts have led to her and her daughter running together and making memories that will last a lifetime.

Lawrence is a very busy mom. She’s also a military wife who finds herself running the show solo for long stints while her husband is away on duty. When I hear the phrase, “I don’t have time to exercise,” I often think of Lawrence and her ever-decreasing marathon times and realize there are no excuses good enough. If this mommy has a 2:52 marathon PR and manages three kids on her own for many weeks of the year, anyone can find the time.

Sometimes Lawrence has to find the time by using the treadmill in her home. The fact that her treadmill is is next to her kids’ playroom may be why her influence is being felt by her daughter. Lawrence’s running is just a part of her children’s lives.

“My treadmill is next to their toy room and I’ve taken them to the track to play on the infield while I run laps more times than I can count. They always ask how far I’ve run that day and how fast I went too. I love that they ask those questions.”
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Running With My Son is One of Life’s Great Blessings

“Mommy, catch my hand so I can run faster!”

This was the unique stringing of words my three-year-old yelled to me years ago as I ran by his side at one of his first foot races. He had to run an entire kilometer on his little legs and he was feeling fatigued. I grabbed his hand, or “caught” it as his vocabulary requested. We ran together for the first time that day and I count it as one of my life’s greatest blessing that we’re still running together today.

Running with my son, Judah, has had many ups and downs. I’ve nearly lost him in big crowds as he jack-rabbits a start. I’ve lost my patience with him when he’s given up because it’s gotten too hard. I’ve also had the pleasure of watching him push himself to victory.

Since my Dad and I share the love of running, I was hopeful Judah would want to follow in our footsteps. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from running with him is that you can’t push your kids to enjoy your hobby. If you push too hard, the experience will just be miserable. I’ve tried to be a very gentle, yet persistent, nudge for Judah. I’ve had to learn that he is a little kid and wants to have fun when he runs. He has no interest in competing, generally, and I just have to be thankful that he wants to participate with me at all.
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