Celebrating Fathers of the TCS New York City Marathon

 

Every year, thousands of people step up to the start line of the TCS New York City Marathon. Many of them are fathers; their children watching from the sidelines, rooting for them from home, or running right along side of them. This year for Father’s Day, we are celebrating those who are both marathoners and fathers, and who have combined their love of being both to strengthen the bond between them and their children.

 
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Jared Ward
U.S Olympian and two-time TCS New York City Marathon finisher
Running, and especially marathon running, has encouraged me to live in the present. When I slip from running the mile I'm in to thinking about all the miles to the finish line, I hit a wall. Kids are so good naturally at living in the moment, so when I'm able to really "be here" with my kids, I relate better to them. And they relate and react better with me. Life can be hard, and kids can be hard, when we are looking ahead and there doesn't seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. But life and kids can be so rich and rewarding if we can keep our eyes focused on where we are right now.

 
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Meb Keflezighi
Olympic medalist and 2009 New York City Marathon champion
I have been a runner for over 25 years and it is safe to say that running has touched every part of my life. Running gives me stability and the opportunity to reset my thoughts. Through the mercy of God, I am blessed to have three amazing daughters, Sara, Fiyori, and Yohana. When I became a father, my life changed immensely. I rely on running to help me become the best father possible.

Thanks to the amazing foundational work my wife, Yordanos, has done raising our daughters, I want them to grow up feeling loved, supported, and capable of doing anything. Running gives me an avenue to show them these things. Over the years, they may have seen me competing on television or running in the Olympic Games, but they know their dad always slows down for their pace on family runs. When they see me training, I want them to know I work hard to achieve my goals and that they can do the same. For example, I’m proud all three of my daughters joined me at the 2012 Olympics and could see how perseverance helped me advance from 21st to 4th place. During that race, it was their presence in the crowd and the USA singlet on my chest that got me to the finish on an incredibly difficult day. That day, I learned the power of focusing on the present moment and I am so proud my daughters could see that lesson in action. 

When we run a family 5K together, it's a way for my daughters to push themselves and see what they are capable of. But no matter how they perform in running, school, or any other facet of life, I hope they know I'm there for them. Running is a way for me to connect with my daughters and show them how to face and overcome challenges.

 
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Mike Racioppo
2018 TCS New York City Marathon finsiher
My daughter Jessica and I have been running together for the past three years consistently. When she first started running, her dream was to run the NYC Marathon along with me. In 2018, Jessica and I both gained entry into the TCS New York City Marathon. We were so excited! Who gets to run the New York City Marathon and run it side by side with your daughter?  

Jessica and I started training together. We would run together 3-4 days a week and do our long runs on the weekend. She would wake up at 2:00 a.m. to run with me on weekdays. We spent hours running together talking and laughing. Running brought us together in many ways. She is my other half. We have had low and high points together, and have learned to trust each other and look out for each other. We realized that it really isn’t all about running, it’s about the time we spent together and no one can take that away from us.  It also taught us to never quit at anything. Running made us excel at home and life. It made us Loyal Buddies (LB).  

On 11/4/18, My daughter Jessica and I stepped to the line for the TCS New York City Marathon. It was one of the best days of my life. Training for the marathon made our relationship grow, and now we are inseparable because of the time we spent with each other training and racing.  We thank the TCS NYC Marathon for bringing us together!  

 
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Takeshi (Casey) Yamazaki
31-time New York City Marathon finisher
I have never tried to “teach” running to my daughter, Erika, but it seems that running shaped her life anyway. Through my running friends, mostly lifetime runners, she has had many running influences from the running community including my team, Central Park Track Club, and kids races with NYRR. In college, she became a student-athlete for Binghamton University. She learned how fun running can be, how running can set the tone for the entire day, and that she could make friends through competing and having fun. My wife and I are so pleased to see her growing up with running for the last 21 years.

I have never forgotten and will never forget the 2014 New York City Marathon. As I was depleting my energy in the 23rd mile, I spotted my daughter who was chasing me from 90th Street to 86th Street in Central Park screaming at me, “Go Daddy, go Daddy!” Tears were welling up in my eyes. Of course, it lit my heart and put more adrenaline into my body.

Kids see parents running even if the parents don’t realize it. I believe running has strengthened the precious bond between my daughter and myself.

 
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Steve Mura
NYRR coach and 2014 TCS New York City Marathon finisher
I became a father in late 2016 after bringing home our daughter Zephana. I say bring home as we adopted her and met her when she was 12 days old. One thing all adopted parents feel is the fear of not being connected with their child. During marathon training, I realized a great way for us to bond was those weekly runs. Having 30-45 minutes with her while I ran around Prospect Park was our time. I’d sing to her, play games with her, or hopefully, let her nap. These times not only helped us bond but also got my all-important weekly mileage completed. We have gone out on a few long runs together, which are a lot of fun. They usually involve a lot of snacks as well as a possible pit stop for me and play time for her. Those memories are ingrained into my mind when looking back on my training.

One thing I try to instill in our daughter that I have learned from running is focusing on the matter at hand. She is now in the middle of being two and she’s trying to figure out this confusing world. Whether we are running together or figuring out the proper reaction to a situation, we take a deep breath and focus on the task. Simple breathing activities will calm her, and me, down.  With running, this helps me focus on one mile at a time, and not the entire 26.2. When I ran the TCS New York City Marathon, I sort of got overwhelmed on 4th Avenue. Focusing on the task at hand helped calm me down and focus on just the next mile. Through practice, she and I have learned this together.





 
Katie Manzi