Gotta’ Run: Running as a family

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

I always love to see families come out to races. Usually those families include 2, 3 or 4 people. But more and more, one of those tall vans with lots of seats has been arriving at the races. And when they unload, it takes a while. On and on they come, all ready to race in some form.

With kids of all sizes in the group, I’ve watched how close they all are and how helpful to each other as they get ready to hit the starting line. Lisa Burleson, runner, mom and grandmom of the group, told me why each one runs or walks. One of their first big events was the Greenway 5K back in mid-July. They have since pumped up the attendance at other races including the Run for the Word 5K in Landis and the Race to the River 5K in Spencer, both in September.

Elizabeth, 14, said, “I wanted to be in the races because doing a 5K was on my bucket list. I wanted to walk a 5K with my Papaw and I got to do just that.” Earlier she was exclusively a walker, but is now mixing in some running.

Joanna, 2, about to turn 3 and a happy fun run participant, said, “I had to do it so I can get faster and faster. I love to run in my running shirt.” She practices often.

Gideon, 11 months, has been along for the ride, pushed by his dad, Sam.

Naomi, 11, said, “When I run, I get to spend special time with my mom. I enjoy being outside in different places. Someday, I want to ride a bike to the Outer Banks.” I can help her with that.

Sam, 38, said, “I like to run to clear my head. I want to better my time. Rather than listening to music, I use the time to reflect and think.” And Sam keeps the kids often while Lisa, Hannah and Naomi run or walk the country roads around their side by side homes. He often pushes a double stroller.

Hannah, 37, said, “I am regaining strength and endurance through running. I especially enjoy running with Naomi and mom. Sam helps with our children to provide time for me.”

Lisa, 64, said, “Exercise is a great way for our family to spend time together. After taking SRR’s running class, I want to continue to increase my endurance.” Hannah, Naomi and Sam all took the class.

Rick, 67, said, “My granddaughter asked me to walk with her this summer in a 5K. I was not sure I could do it. But I made it. I plan to begin a walking regimen. I am so blessed to be a stage 4 cancer survivor.”

Another son, 6-year-old Nathaniel, has run in four fun runs already this year. Nathaniel says he is getting stronger and faster and is proud of himself for running.

In retrospect, this Burleson and McDonald combined family inspires others. Imagine the work to get this whole crowd out of bed and fed in time to drive 20 minutes and still get everyone to an 8 a.m. race in plenty of time. It takes a cohesive unit to do this. Nothing is better than that, especially with running and walking a big part of the mix.

Already, October is just around the corner. Oct. 14 has the Sacred Heart Dolphin Dash 5K and Fun Run. Then it’s double Halloween fun at the St. Matthews 5K and Fun Run, on Oct. 28, followed by the long-running Spooky Sprint 5K and Fun Run at Catawba College on the next day, Oct. 29.

And finally, if you are new to running or racing, or are starting to consider it, you’ve got great weather to give it a try. Cooler weather makes exercise and outdoor activity more fun and a little bit easier. Check for more races and activities.