Today, my nine-year old son Brandon celebrated the culmination of several months of effort by attending and completing the "Final Mile" ceremony for Marathon Kids. In essence, Brandon completed a full marathon's worth of running over a period of many weeks, and this final event was held at a stadium in south Austin with a party atmosphere and tons of encouragement, cheering, and music. The kids felt like rock stars.
After they ran the final mile (which was actually about ½ mile), they were awarded with a nice gold medal and a t-shirt. In my son's case, he will also be getting the video game of his choosing today when we go to GameStop. That was my contribution to help get him on the right path toward regular exercise. So far, it seems to be working well as an additional incentive.
He completed his final run for the marathon this past Monday evening, and he is already working toward a new goal, which is a subscription to Nick Magazine. The subscription is about $20, so Brandon has agreed to run 20 miles for this. Not a bad trade for either of us. He has already gone about 1.5 miles toward the new goal.
While traveling to the stadium this morning, we ended up taking a longer route than I had anticipated (thanks, Google Maps!) so we were cutting it closer on time than I had planned. If it weren't for the terrible traffic congestion from the hundreds of people attending the event, we would have been about 10 minutes early. As it turned out, we got there about 15-20 minutes late. However, this ended up being perfect timing as it was a few minutes before the 4th graders were set to run, so it worked out well.
I am a proud dad today, and I am hoping and planning to run more often with him in the upcoming months, as I also need to get back on track when it comes to exercise.
I asked Brandon how he felt after completing such a cool feat, and he said (in his typical mature-beyond-his-years way), "I feel like a new man."
Later, when we were discussing the event at lunch with my mom (pictured at right), Brandon said, "When we were in the stadium, it felt like I was passing a test with flying colors." and, "I feel like I could fly."
What more could a father want for his son?
If you would like more information about Marathon Kids, please visit their website at http://www.marathonkids.com/. They currently have programs in a number of cities and I believe that they are looking to expand further.