RACE THE NATION IS STAYING HOME UNTIL COVID-19 IS NO LONGER A THREAT - STAY SAFE!
We're an ordinary family. A Mom and Dad, Michael and Dorothy Wood in their fifties, daughter Hayley and son Ethan five years apart. We enjoy each other's company (most of the time) and as parents we're always looking for things that will appeal to all of us that we can enjoy doing together.
Michael is an environmental scientist and was a latecomer to running, proving that you're never too old to start. I remember the day in his late forties when he came home feeling pretty proud that he'd managed to run the three-mile loop in our neighborhood for the first time without stopping. Fast forward a few years and now he's an avid long distance runner, having completed over 20 marathons and countless half-marathons, including qualifying for, and running, the Boston marathon. While he didn't start for any other reason than to run with Hayley, who at the time was doing cross-country and track in high school, the health gains have been tremendous (see photos!). Like many people, he genuinely enjoys running.
I've been an exerciser my whole life (this is Dorothy in case you didn't figure that out already). I have a Ph.D. in cell and molecular pathology and being able to marry my love of science with the power of exercise brings me great joy. I got my certification to teach group exercise classes during college in my early twenties, and I'm still going strong. I LOVE group exercise classes - I enjoy the camaraderie, the music, the motivation. Am I as enthusiastic about running? Not so much. What I do love, however, is the atmosphere of a race. It's hard to beat the feeling at the start when everyone is gathered and excited, and the end is even better! The endorphins are pumping and there's free food! What's not to love? I do run to cross train, and I'll always run a shorter distance race when Michael runs the marathon, but I confess I'm not one to run for miles by myself - I get too bored :-)
We kept the kids involved in sports all through grade school. Hayley played softball then switched to track and field, and cross country in high school. She ran her first half marathon when she was a junior. We were there for her second race and she crossed the finish line looking as fresh as a daisy - that was one of the motivations for Michael to start running. She stopped for a while during college but now we enjoy running races together. I can attest that it makes a world of difference having someone to run with. Ethan has played hockey since he was 4, and played lacrosse in high school. Now he plays recreational basketball with his college buddies and goes to the gym to strength train. If it's possible, he dislikes running more than me! You will notice he doesn't strap on his sneakers very often for our races, but he's always happy to take pictures at the finish line. Michael lives in hope that he'll come around in time - it's his greatest wish to run a marathon with one of us. I'm fairly certain it won't be me :-)
Signing up for a race is such a fun way to both exercise and socialize - two of the most important components that promote longevity
Regardless of your fitness level; novice or advanced runner, anyone can do this! No special equipment is needed and often all distances are an option. Walkers are welcome and if you don't want to participate in the race itself, you can always volunteer!
Whether you're racing in your home town or you've traveled farther afield, make the most of your race weekend. Enjoy some local treats (you derserve it after all!) and visit some of the attractions the area has to offer.
Michael's first half-marathon
A few races later...
Now he's racked up quite a few medals