Today was Father’s Day. In what has become somewhat of a tradition the past 2 years, my daughters and I run the Rowayton Fun Run. You have a choice of 2.2 or 4.4 miles. The race has multiple age groups and divisions including single stroller and double, etc. I was going to run it myself this year after running it pushing the jogging stroller last year, but my youngest daughter asked when we were going to run together like the last time. It was Father’s Day, and she is getting too big for the stroller anyway so I figured ok one last race for the jogging stroller.
Sign up is always easy and fast. The weather was much better this year and they had a near record turnout. Despite some bib issues which were resolved quickly before the race and again after the race there were no issues. There is plenty of parking, registration goes fast, the cost is only $12.00, and goes the Rowayton Community Center. It is a win win for everyone.
I chose the 2.2 mile course again this year. I have been doing mostly middle distance running this year and figured the extra resistance from the stroller would be helpful in my training. Both the 2.2 and the 4.4 mile course are USATF certified courses. The t-shirts are always great and are designed by local artist Lynn Stephens Massey. This year they were super bright chartreuse, which will be perfect for those days I run and want to be visible. So I will definitely be wearing mine in the future.
The course is well marked and there are plenty of volunteers to keep you on track. The local Rowayton Fire Department was there in their fire truck to set the pace and the start of the race. The course works it’s way toward the beach and some sailboats secured by their moorings. It is a classic New England seaside town. It is something you might expect to see on a postcard. The course then goes through some residential areas before bringing you out once more where you get a final look at Long Island Sound before you hit one last long and steady uphill. Once you crest that hill it is home free. You turn a final corner and then you can see the finish line.
I was a bit sad running this race, knowing this is likely the last time we will use the jogging stroller. I used that stroller back when my oldest was a baby. I used it when I was not even a “runner”, only using it for the times I decided to run longer than the sprints I used in my training.
Besides the many runs and Fun Runs there are two stories that come to mind when I think of that now faded green jogging stroller.
The first is when we would run the Norwalk Fun Run around the first week of December. We would decorate the stroller with battery operated Christmas lights, and don our chartreuse Santa hats, handiwork of my wife. They always started the strollers in the back. Even though there were no awards to be had my oldest always wanted to run as fast as she could. So my poor daughter would go for quite a ride as dad bounced and bounded over curbs and did some off-roading to make sure my daughter could run fast and still have her parent running with her.
The second story goes much further back. My oldest was three years old and I jogged over to the preschool to get her obviously with an empty stroller. Two guys were sitting on the street smoking a little Mother Nature and were very upset my stroller was empty. “Hey man, your baby is gone.” I knew right away they thought my daughter fell out. They offered to help me find her. I stopped running and started looking around frantically for my daughter. After about 15 seconds I stopped and started laughing and told them that it was really ok that I was going to get her.
I finished with a personal course record by 7 seconds. That was good enough for 9th overall and 1st in the single stroller division.
It was a great Father’s Day morning, with the Rowayton Fun Run, and then a nice breakfast after. While I am sad to see the jogging stroller go, I hope I have provided a good example and the lesson of maintaining your health and staying active. Next year I hope my youngest will be running on her own.