How My Dad Taught Me to Run

My dad joined me recently at one of the places — Upper Union Street in Franklin, Massachusetts, the town in which I grew up — where he taught me, my brother and sister to run more than four decades ago. Given that I’ll be running the Boston Marathon once again this year, I thought it would be a great time to capture the memory and share the story…

How My Dad Taught Me to Run

When I was just a boy, my dad used to take me and my older brother and sister to a quiet, rolling, long stretch of road – less travelled, free of traffic and on the outskirts of town – where he would time each of us running for about a quarter of a mile or so, an exceptionally long distance for me at that tender, young age.

But I liked it. I liked that indoctrination to such a challenging sport, that introduction to the concept of pounding the pavement one small step at a time, running as fast as I could go for as long as I could last. I liked it enough to keep at it for years, to keep pushing my body to its furthermost limits until that one fateful day that it would no longer cooperate, until my tired, old legs would be forced to succumb to the wear and the tear, the ache and the pain.

Fortunately, that day hasn’t arrived. I haven’t reached the finish line of my running career yet. Decades have passed since those first family fun runs, but I’m happy to say that I’m still going the distance. I’m still running 5Ks and 10Ks, mountains and marathons. I’m still running for time.

Yes, ever since a father taught his children how to run like the wind, the youngest one of them all has logged thousands of miles and is still going strong. In fact, in just seven days from now, I’ll be running my seventh Boston Marathon for charity, this time around for Christopher’s Haven, a home away from home for children being treated for cancer at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

So please help me help young cancer patients and their families. Please go to and give as much as you can afford. I’ll appreciate it. But the kids and families who are staying at Christopher’s Haven will appreciate it even more. It’s on their behalf that I’m running the Boston Marathon on April 19, 2010. And it’s on their behalf that I thank you for your support – and, yes, my dad for teaching me to run such a long time ago.

Thanks, Dad!

Thanks, Dad!

Be Sociable, Share!

3 Responses to How My Dad Taught Me to Run

  1. Bob, thanks for sharing this story. It brought up memories for me, too. Good luck on the marathon!

  2. Ed Jeye says:

    Bob, I am sorry that I have not been in touch, but wanted to send you some good vibes for Monday. I hope that you are very successful, not only in completing the Boston Marathon, but also in your efforts for Christopher’s Haven. Take care and best wishes to you, your dad, and your entire family!

  3. Bob, Circling back to leave a comment. I wish I’d done it before you ran last Monday. CONGRATULATIONS on your 7th Boston Marathon. That is really something! And what a great Dad to instill that love of running in his kids at such an early age. As for me, I took up running in ’95, met my future husband at a race 3 days later, kept up the running for about a year and then pooped out. (At least the marriage has continued.) Keep running for both of us, Bob!