OK. So I think things are getting serious. I am starting to believe that my 8-year-old really will run a 5K this spring.

It all started about a month  ago when I asked my son “you want to run a 5K with me?”

He responded with a yes.

I had just received a book in the mail — Run For God. I had also download a popular app for couch sitters who want to be runners, just to take a look at the workouts and schedule a little.

I read chapter one of the book. I committed to reading chapter two, and getting off my booty and seeing how much creak is in my bones (hint: a lot!).

As if I needed any extra motivation, I popped the question on my son. We started run/walk workouts the very next day. I honestly figured that after two or three times out in the crappy weather of February and March he would quit.

But he did not and has not. I started checking into what kind of project we could turn this into for 4-H. I figure getting him a ribbon and all the recognition possible for finishing a 5K at his age is warranted. Seriously. How many kids are just content to sit in front of the TV? And he loves watching NASCAR and playing sports games on Xbox.

We also looked at a few virtual race medals, because he has made it clear if he finishes a 5K, he wants a medal. I plan on making sure he gets one, whether or not the race we try offers finisher medals. Darn it, running 5,000 meters at age 8 is a big deal. It’s a big deal at 47. Recognition will be earned. He likes a couple we found online and I will order those a little closer to the completion of race training. 

Still, I had two more discouragers in store for him to try and make sure he’s serious. Just last week we got on our bikes and went 5,000 meters. For the uninitiated, that is 3.1 miles. No big deal, but a way to understand what we are training for. It was a chance for him to find out what the distance really is. During that ride, we saw parts of Centennial Park, the Sand Creek Trail, North Newton and Newton.

He loved it. He loved that it took us about 30 minutes, about the same amount of time we run/walk in our training. In the world of running, we are doing what is called "base-building." It's building up the legs and lungs to handle a distance. Right now, we concentrate on the amount of time running, rather than the distance. 

Until this week, we really did not push my son's limits a whole lot. But this week, I was feeling particularly strong as we jogged. I kept an OK pace. His legs were tired — he had spent the afternoon riding his bike and playing outside before I came home from work for our run.

The first "discourager," prior to tired legs this week,  came a few weekends ago after a particularly slow, windy run/walk.  We drove the distance of 5,000 meters.

When we were done with that, I asked: “what do you think?” His response floored me.

“I want to run two or three 5Ks, and then I want to do a 10K. I think we can do it.”

I’m sure he can. If I drop some extra pounds, I can too. Time will tell.

For now, however, it seems like he’s serious. He wants a medal, a ribbon at the fair and time with his dad — all of which he is either earning or getting every day we go out.


— Chad Frey is managing editor of the Newton Kansan. he lives in Newton with his family. He can be reached at cfrey@thekansan.com or 283-1500