Bigger Than Running

I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed their races and long runs.  I had a great weekend filled with a nice long, a post run beer and bagel party with some other awesome runners, and then a lovely outdoor concert.  It was a great start to the weekend.  Sunday was a much needed day off spent visiting family and just enjoying the sun and warm weather.

Today I want to share a very special story with you and introduce you to someone who even at a young age has learned and shared how running can be more than just an athletic endeavor.  Last fall a young man named Zach ran his first 5k and my husband ran it with him.  He did it as a personal challenge for himself.  But part way through the difficult training something sparked inside of him, he was inspired, and he wanted to make this more than just about his running.

So often these days we talk about how kids are different and spend so much time playing video games or “are up to no good.”  We see all the bad things going on and think that things aren’t the same as when we were growing up.  Sure they are different but Zach is a testament to just how great kids can be.  What he chose to do this year went beyond just him.  It showed a love and honor for his family and a maturity beyond his years.  He used this opportunity to raise awareness and to run for a family member suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

At his "warm up" 10K race.

At his “warm up” 10K race.

Hi.  My name is Zach and I live in Manhattan.  I am 13 years old.  I recently ran my first half marathon in Morristown, New Jersey.  The whole experience was amazing.  It was a Superhero Half Marathon so a lot of the people wore cool costumes.

Running a half marathon is definitely not easy but looking back it also wasn’t super, super hard.  The training process was challenging but fun because I got to see all the different places in New York City.  Once I ran all the way from Battery Park, which is at the very bottom of Manhattan, all the way up the West Side Highway to 86th Street and across Central Park back to my house.  It was my longest training run.  It was 10 miles.  Training for the race I got to see so many different places all over the city.

I want to give a special shoutout to Coach Rock, Coach Sarah and my good friend Raphael for inspiring me and supporting me.

Zach2

Can you imagine going to school the next day? What did you do this weekend?!

Sometimes we forget but running can be a true team effort.

Sometimes we forget but running can be a true team effort.

Zach5

Zach6

Zach made everyone so proud this spring.  He has come a long way from that 5K a few months ago when running a mile first seemed so difficult.  As time went on he remarked to me that he used to think a mile was a really long way and now he realizes that if he takes his time they are all manageable.  He patiently worked through the aches and pains that come with running and laughed about how stiff and tired his muscles were after his weekend long runs.

Watching him slowly transform as a runner was a very special experience.  He learned when to push through struggles and when it was ok to stop for a second and take a break.  Running truly is a metaphor for life in so many ways.

Congrats Zach!

 

18 thoughts on “Bigger Than Running

  1. That is awesome, especially running to support a family member. The running community is so special and inspirational. Tell him congratulations for me and thanks for the great post!!!

  2. I love hearing stories like this–as a kid with a chronic illness, it meant the world to me when other kids my age wanted to help me raise awareness, and even then they knew me personally. It can be so difficult at that age to not only want to be involved but to stay involved in a charitable activity. He has a great deal to be proud of!

    • He certainly does. A lot of this was his own doing. He feels very strongly about making a difference. I think a lot of adults could learn something from his charitable mindset.

  3. such an inspiring story — love to see young people with passion and conviction and a genuine sense of social responsibility and compassion for others. thanks for sharing this!!

  4. Way to go Zack – and such an important life lesson that you have learned at such a young age – anything can be accomplished if you take your time and work at it, mile by mile or goal by goal. Keep that lesson close and know that it will help you achieve many great things in your life.

  5. Great going, Zach! I spend a lot of volunteering with kids and reminding them that as they grow, their perspective of the things they can do should grow too, and that they can do anything in small, manageable steps. Thanks for sharing this story.

  6. Pingback: Go Ahead And Have Some Fun On The Run | Running On Healthy

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