by Todd Shatynski
I have been a runner for a long time. Some of my earliest memories are of running the kids races set around local road races with my parents. I kept it up through most of school and into college and beyond. As a result, I have had my share of success over the years, partly from just being persistent through injury as well as just continuing the love for exercise. I have always been proud of these accomplishments, but I have found even more enjoyment over the past few years watching my kids start to enjoy sports and specifically running. Colonie track meets have been a great spot to get them involved as multiple distances and competition levels can let everyone get out there. I now have two high school cross country runners this year and have watched them find running for enjoyment, camaraderie as well as competition.
Two weeks ago, when I asked my thirteen year old son Ben if he was interested in getting up early on a Sunday morning to run the Thacher Park Trail Festival 10k, I had figured he would prefer to sleep in on a day off from practice. Instead, to my surprise, he said “sure!” We both ran the 10k and got to experience the challenges posed by a long and difficult trail race! Steep hills, rocky and rooty terrain, tight turns – so fun! I was able to win the 10k (probably because most of the “real” runners ran the longer distances) but found even more enjoyment in watching Ben come across the line (in 18th)! It was a hot day and had a sun exposed finish, but he finished strong – the longest run he had done to date! He even said he had fun before he hit the post race food line!
Everyone can find personal success in running towards a goal. Some are able to coach and see the success of their athletes on the course and relish in it more than personal achievement. Sharing a love for a life sport like running with someone you love is one of the most exciting and fulfilling of all. I have no idea if my kids will continue to run after school or as adults, but the lessons they learn through distance running will hopefully transfer to life skills as well – work hard towards a goal, physical fitness, sportsmanship and set good examples for those around you. My parents encouraged me through sharing their passion – now I can say I am passing down that gift to my own children!