I am an avid runner. I have been running since the age of ten and have run tons of races for personal records (PRs), awards, qualifications, and of course, for fitness. Since graduating high school and college, however, I’ve been running more for fun and fitness than for anything else, though there are times where my competitive spirit emerges despite myself.
Especially in the past couple of months. I have somehow used my competitive spirit and running experience to influence the other members of the Nixon family to run and so before March could come in like a lion, we all made sure to register for the Shamrock Sportsfest. The event is held annually (since 1972) and has expanded from a mere 8k run and walk to an entire weekend to include the whole family.
There are a total of five races: Children’s Marathon, which is 260 meters (children 1-5), Operation Smile Final Mile (children 6 to 12), Middle School Madness 8k, Shamrock 8k (high schoolers and adults), and then of course the Shamrock Half-Marathon and Marathon(for anyone at least 16 years of age). Each year, the Sportsfest grows to be thousands upon thousands participants from all over the country. In the past five years, the popularity of the Sportsfest weekend has become so immense that J&A Racing has oftentimes had to cap the limit of runners in each race and turn away willing participants earlier than the registration deadline.
Luckily, Frank, Allan, and I registered in time and were able to not only run in the Sportsfest, but also volunteer to distribute medals at the finish line. It was pretty amazing. Allan, we learned, is an incredible runner with tons of potential. He ran the one-mile race in 7:58 and when he crossed the finish line, he was still full of energy and ready for more! We have resolved to sign Allan up for as many races as we can afford…as long as Allan wants to run, that is.
Frank pulled a muscle in his knee the afternoon before our race by playing soccer with Allan and despite the pain and adversity of the injury he ran the half marathon in under 3 hours. Pretty impressive, I must say. I ended up running by myself, though I felt bad leaving Frank hobbling behind me. I steeled my resolve and told myself I’d run in honor of his injury and cracked out the half marathon in 2:20:15. That was the fastest I’ve run in a long time.
All in all, the weekend proved to be an amazing bonding experience for our family. We learned about the history of the Sportsfest, we learned about the gratitude, esteem, and respect runners (and volunteers) have for each other, and best of all, we learned what kind of athletes we really were.
If you want to learn more about running or want to begin running yourself, email me or comment below. I’ll get you started – nice and easy – and then who knows? Maybe your family will catch the spirit, too!
Thanks for reading and remember to always wonder!