Happy Father’s day!

We have a lot of dads on dailymile, so to celebrate them this Sunday, we asked you to send us your dailymile dad stories for a chance to first celebrate your dad, and second win a free dailymile PRO account. We’ve chosen a handful of the best dad stories we recieved, and on Monday we’ll announce the winner! Enjoy these stories!

“I became a Dad, I became a runner,” by Ben K.
After my wife had our first child a few years ago, and we were expecting our second, a routine physical found that my cholesterol and blood sugar levels were high. Both heart disease and diabetes run in my family, but I was in my mid thirties and up to that point was always given a clean bill of health. I used to be into more team sports as a form of physical fitness, but after having kids I found I had little time to spare for sports and exercise. I was also mostly in charge of meals and gained a bit of weight with my wife while she went through 2 pregnancies in a little over 2 years.

Once I got the news from my doctor that I had to either shape up or be put on medications, I decided to sign up for a half marathon. I had run a full marathon a few years earlier, but running didn’t really stick with me. After I finished the race, I barely ran again. Instead I went back to softball, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, etc. Things I had to do with other people using special equipment at special times and special places.

What I loved about running was that I could do it almost anywhere and at anytime. I could fit it into my life that was crazier than it had ever been. I even got a jogging stroller for those times when my wife couldn’t watch our first. I saw results almost immediately. My weight dropped quickly. My cholesterol and blood sugars went right to the healthy range in just a few months with my increased exercise and better eating habits. Since having my two boys 3 years ago I’ve run 5 half marathons and I’m getting ready to run a couple more this year.

Maybe it just took me a while, but I think I’m finally becoming a “runner.” Now I like to get up early, way before the kids and my wife, when it’s dark and cold here in the Midwest, and I run. It’s helps me to relax and de-stress. It’s me time, and I don’t feel like I’m taking time away from my boys. I love my kids, and I’m doing this for them for a few reasons.

Being healthier means I’ve got more energy to play with them, and trust me with a 2 and a 3 year old I need all the energy I can get! I also figure that by staying in good shape I’ll be around for a long time to watch them grow up and be a part of their lives as much as possible. Those two things I expected, but here’s the one that I didn’t see coming.

They see me running, and like most kids, they want to do what their parents do. My kids constantly ask to run with me. They’ll stretch with me, I’ll do little jogs down to the end of the block and back with them. I feel that I’m not only setting a good example for them, but helping them to build a foundation of physical fitness that will last them a lifetime. That makes me very proud, of them and me.

I’ve attached a photo of myself completing a half marathon a couple of months ago. My wife was watching near the finish line with our boys when the oldest ran out to me as I was approaching the end. I think it was the coolest thing when he ran the last few hundred feet with me down the chute as people were cheering us on. When we crossed the line I put my finisher medal on him, and he had the biggest grin on his face. I’ve never bought any race photos before, but the one of my and my son crossing the finish line together was too good to pass up.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can run a race with both of my sons. And if I have anything to say about it, it’s going to be a long time before I let them beat me.

“Happy Father’s Day,” by Sutah R.

Once upon a time I had a dad. He was tall and i thought, good looking. My favorite memory is him taking my three brothers and I to “saucer” on the ice in a large parking lot during the Chicago winters. Pretty much against the protests of our mother. It felt good to come home safe and sound and give mom a hug. “See mom? We are all in one piece.” My dad was right.

When our mother died of stomach cancer, he relayed this sad news with tears running down his face. I remember taking comfort in the fact my strong father was crying and that made it okay for me to cry too. My dad was sensitive.

When I acted out in school. My dad would sit me down and ask me why I behaved badly. He would then put his arm around me and explain why I should act like a young lady. My dad was understanding.

My dad took me to my first fast food restaurant. Just the two of us. My mother would have been horrified. I remember it was a Jack in the Box. He ordered a hamburger and a chocolate shake! from a clown. My dad was fun.

My father suffered a heart attack at our church picnic 41 years ago. I am running a 5 mile race this weekend in the 50-59 year old female category. I wish my dad were on the sideline to cheer me on. He would of been proud of me. My dad was encouraging and supportive.

There are many things I remember about my father, too many to go on about. I would just like to say I miss my dad.

“Riding together from a distance,” by Eric H.
When my dad turned 60 he got very involved with cycling. He rode in the MS150 from Houston to Austin a few times but then lost interest. He is now approaching 70 and his health has been on my mind. About two months ago I had a somewhat serious talk with him about giving him a hard time. I took his iPhone and installed the “cyclemeter app,” and signed him up for dailymile. I started a challenge to ride 170 miles in one month and we both finished. We’ve got a new challenge for the first part of July and I intend to do a year long one to keep us both riding! We are also planning on riding the rails to trails path with my brother from Pittsburgh to Washington DC for his 70th birthday in September. Thank you, dailymile for giving us a way to ride together even though we live over a thousand miles apart. My dad will be around a bit longer thanks to you guys!

“My dad is my inspiration,” by Jessica U.
Since before I was born, my father has been a runner. Averaging 5-7 miles per day, 5-7 days per week, it was always commonplace that after work he would take off his work clothes and put on running ones. Growing up, I never understood it and never got into the habit.

Fast forward a little bit and now I’m 22 years old, and I’ve gained over 50 pounds since graduating high school. I tried everything to lose weight, including Atkins, Weight Watchers, Medical Weight Loss, HCG, Theratrim… I’m pretty sure I could keep going. Finally, I realized something that should have kicked in years ago. My dad has always been lean, been generous but watched what he ate, and one key factor: he has always been a runner. So I got a German Shepherd puppy (Sasha, my love) and started running. I looked back at my first dailymile posts (you’ve been there the whole way!), and I couldn’t run for more than a minute at a time, and I was averaging 13 minute miles. I just recently ran my PR for a 5k, 31:07, and I owe it all to my dad. He has been to majority of the races (all 5ks) I have run since I started running, although he’s only run one the whole way with me. Instead, he does something better. He will run the race at his pace, but then after he will run it backwards to find me, and then run in with me. It always speeds me up and gives me the drive that I need to finish strong, and give it all I’ve got. By the time he’s finally found me, I usually need him :)

My dad just ran the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, MI, and it was his 82nd marathon – 04:08:03. He also turned 63 in March. He swears he’s done running them, and is going to work on his “short game” as he puts it, focusing more on the 5-10ks instead. I keep reminding him that he has to run one more with me, which would be my first. I’ve lost 35 pounds since I started running and watching my diet, and it is entirely thanks to the motivation and inspiration my dad has so strongly instilled in me.

“It’s all my dad’s fault,” by Michelle M.

If you met my dad, you would think that there was nothing wrong with him. He looks like he is in good shape and is aging gracefully. However, the disease that is slowly working it’s way through his body and nervous system will some day stop him in his tracks – Parkinson’s Disease. Most of us associate PD with Michael J. Fox and the struggles he has had in recent years. When I heard those words from dad – I was immediately scared for him and his future. The diagnosis came in spring 2007. The doctors gave him all types of ideas to combat symptoms, but the one that stuck out was exercise. So what did he do? Decided to start running. His first adventure? The Milwaukee Marathon. So he began training and preparing for Milwaukee with a goal to try and BQ. Little did he know that would be one of the hottest days that fall, so warm that the Chicago Marathon would be black flagged. He finished respectively for a hot day with a smile on his face. From there – I knew that this was his new quest and mission.

In February 2008, he ran the PF Chang’s Marathon in Arizona. Of course, I went out to support him with other members of my family. As I stood and watched all of the runners pass by – that looked just like me and in so many varying sizes – I got it in my head that I too could run. Shortly after that trip, I called my dad to tell him that I wanted to run and was planning on a half marathon in North Carolina (lived in SC at the time). He was very excited and gave some basic advice to get me headed in the right direction. All along the way he was supportive and giving pieces of advice or at least things to consider trying without being overwhelming. He and my step-mom made the trip to support me (he was going to run but got hurt the week before on a long run) and was there along the course to support me.

He continues to run despite set backs and diminishing times, but he carries on towards his goal of qualifying for Boston. I made a deal with him last year that when he BQ’s – I will run the Chicago Marathon and that he has to run it with me (at my pace of course). There is a touching story about a father (Dick Hoyt) that pushes his son, physically unable to run himself, across many finish lines. I envision that there will be a day that I may have to do the same for my dad. In order to do that – I have to keep running. That is what motivates and inspires me, therefore, it’s all my dad’s fault.

“I’m not a runner,” by Ryan K.
I did organized athletics from 6th grade to my sophomore year in college. I’ve had the opportunity to be a coach for the past 15 years. In all that time, my only running experience was 1 track meet in the 6th grade. Right after that track meet, I became the track manager.

In fact, when I went into high school, I wanted to do something during track season so I talked to my principal about starting a tennis team. Why tennis you may ask? Well, that is what my dad and I played. Sure, we played basketball and he threw countless footballs to me over the years, but we played tennis together. I remember watching him play in tournaments and I loved watching him play and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to play with him.

In all my junior high and high school years as well as my years as a basketball coach, my dad was one of my biggest fans. He came to games in the rain and snow when I was a freshman, knowing I wasn’t going to play. But he and Mom were there anyway. After I quit playing and started coaching, he was still right there at every chance he got, to cheer me on as he cheered on my teams.

What does all this have to do with running or dailymile? I started running and using dailymile a little over a year ago. I’ve been able to run a 10K and a couple 5K’s and I’m planning on at least 1 if not 2 half-marathons in October. The constant has remained. The first picture I’ve attached is me finishing my first road race and who do you see in the background, but my dad.

My mom broke her ankle recently and was having some pretty major trouble with it after surgery. Last Friday, the day before I ran a 5K near my hometown, she was pretty low and my dad told me he probably wouldn’t be able to come watch me run. I understood, obviously, and was fine with the decision he made for my mom.

I got a call later that night and it was my dad. He told me that mom had talked to the doctor and felt much better after their conversation. She told him she would be fine and he was calling to tell me he would be at my race. Twenty minutes before the gun, my dad had positioned himself to cheer for me near the beginning as well as at the finish line. The second picture I’ve attached is me right after running the race (I got a PR and finished 4th overall out of 65 runners) with my dad right there.

Running hasn’t always been a part of my life, but my dad has. He continues to encourage me in all that I do and has shown me how to be a good dad as well.

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