Up Close: Utah Dad Runs Marathons While Spending Time With Kids
LEHI, Utah — A Utah father has come up with a challenging plan to run a marathon each month this year while still spending quality time with his 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.
“It was really almost out of desperation, cause I’m like I want to spend time with my kids I don’t want to go to work all day and then run all afternoon then send them to a baby sitter,” Benjamin Hooley said. “Kind of made me feel good that they were part of all this stuff rather than I was doing my own thing.”
Hooley started his running career in 2006. His first race was a 5K in 2009 and he ran an ultra-relay, marathon and triathlon in 2012. He has now run 10 marathons and 23 half marathons, with three of those marathons coming this year.
Overall, he has run almost 1,500 miles in 2019.
But to fulfill his goal of spending more time with the kids, he set out to run one marathon a month this year with his kids in tow. On his 37th birthday, he ran 37 miles with young day Gehrig and Emma. It took him seven hours, 14 minutes and 55 seconds — if you take out snack and playtime.
“This is definitely my version of family time with them,” Hooley said.
The Hooleys have encountered just about every animal you can find on a trail and played just about every game you can in a stroller during their runs.
“One game they created a couple of weeks ago they had imaginary fish they were catching. Then they were fighting over who was catching what fish. That was entertainment right there,” Hooley said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I could read stories to them at night but it’s a different bonding when they are rolling through mountains and doing stuff.”
When the kids need a break, Hooley stops at a playground or somewhere they can get out of the stroller and run around.
“It’s the happiest that I could ever be. They see my joy and they are making it their joy too and they are having fun,” he said.
Who knows what the future holds — Hooley said that maybe Gehrig and Emma will become marathon runners themselves one day.
“I’m thinking alright, are my kids going to remember this when they are older, as this was torcher for them and they are going to have some PTSD from sitting in the stroller? Or are they going to outgrow the stroller and become marathoners running alongside me,” Hooley said. “They haven’t said they’ve had a bad time yet.”
Hooley said he plans to run a marathon with the kids the day after Thanksgiving and then one more in December to accomplish his goal of running a marathon each month this year.