About 3 years ago I became aware of the United States National Running Streak Association. It seemed that every time I opened a magazine or popped on the computer there was something about the organization. It also told of legendary members that have ran more than four decades without ever missing a day. There are streakers who have ran through medical conditions like pregnancy and delivery or heart surgery; Cataclysmic events like hurricanes or tornadoes; and through financial or mental issues of all sorts, in fact many streaks began because of financial or mental issues!! I enjoyed perusing their newsletter and read some inspiring stories of fortitude, it is amazing what people have done to keep their streak alive!! I have freely admitted that I do not always like running. I know I should, but the first step is always the hardest. Soooo, to counteract the laziness factor, I decided that I would start my own running streak!
On December 19, 2013, I trudged out the door with my GPS to mark out exactly 1/2 mile from my front door. I figured at the very least it would keep me moving through the coldest and darkest stretch of the winter! My wife, Kristen, decided to join me 2 days later. My wife is genuinely the most supportive person in the world, when my cause is just! When I went vegan, she went vegan…I don’t think I would have done the same for her without some really concrete evidence that it was the best thing for me and my family, but she trusts my knowledge and dedication and has been with me every step of the way!!! (She also recognizes how stubborn I am!)
My wife and 2 daughters Kristen, Eliza, and Rebekah crossing paths on the Elkhorn Crest Trail. Its about 25 miles long. I start on one end, they start on the other, and we trade keys along the route!!!
I didn’t even consider the family ramifications as I took off for that first cold mile, but it started to come into focus when my wife would be waiting at the door to get 10 minutes of alone time with her honey. Soon some of the kids wanted to join us, and the smaller ones would look forward to getting big enough to join!! I offered the kids $100 if they could make a streak last longer than mine!!! I really never expected to pay it out, because like trying to grow older than my brother, it just wouldn’t be possible…..unless, I missed a day. It happened the day after an Ironman, I woke up and rode 40 miles to “spin out my legs”. I got a little carried away and arrived back at my hotel wiped out. I went back to my room and crawled in bed and…..forgot to run my silly mile!!! I was 17 days short of making a full year!!! I was really disappointed, plus the fact that my 15 year old daughter, Charity, had started a 6 month streak of her own!!! I could feel my wallet getting lighter, along with the loss of my supreme position as the familys’ longest streaker!!! Of course, 3 days later my wife took over the coveted position with all of its awesome power and prestige!! But I knew, that nothing lasts forever, so with renewed vigor, I started again! This time I made it just shy of 2 years before one day while traveling with 2 of my boys, I forgot to run. I was really distraught, and actually decided to let it die for a few weeks. Kristen, on the other hand was powering her way to 3 years and has yet to miss a day!!! She had ran through airports with a baby on her back, dragging an over-weight carry-on behind her! And she had made it through inclement weather and opressive sickness to keep the count climbing ever higher!! What was more impressive, was my daughter, who started 6 months after me was also still going, and had already collected her bounty for taking down the already embattled “King”. Her younger sister, Mary, was also streaking over a year, and only needed a few months to claim her own portion of the prize!!! When I told Kristen that I had forgot to run, I could hear Mary dancing and singing in the background!! So much for empathy!!! She had already started to make plans for her Benjamin Franklin while my broken heart was still pounding in my chest! I figured that my child rearing must be amiss, but then it hit me that any teenager would be dancing and singing if they knew there was $100 on its way!!! Poetic justice or The laws of the Universe came into play, when a few weeks later she severely sprained her ankle and couldn’t walk, let alone run, for a couple of days. For the record, I was a little more sympathetic, and did not sing or dance due to her misfortune….Where she could see me! So, at this moment I am still third on the RFRSA (Rushton Family Running Streak Association) official list. But Mary, and my 12 year-old Seth have both started right behind me to keep the pressure on!!
- RFRSA OFFICIAL RANKINGS – LONGEST STREAK (as of Dec 24, 2016)
- Kristen 1099
- Charity 965
- Mike 676 (54)
- Mary 536 (50)
- Seth 26
- Zion 15 We never did actually join the USRSA, although we should. Raising 10 kids makes frivolous spending a luxury. They were our inspiration for starting this ridiculous tradition. The USRSA can be found at runeveryday.com It is $20 annually to stay current! I believe we would already be 2nd for most family members with a streak!!!
I know, I know, I promised the secret to raising your kids….And I think the secret is, that there isn’t a fool proof plan to have perfect kids. That said, running a mile every day has been a valuable weapon in the arsenal. I believe the metaphor is appropriate because sometime you feel like you are going to battle every day! There are some basics that you can’t miss, and when you do, the negative impacts are immediate and noticeable. Consistently running together is one of them. Sure, you have to read Scriptures and Pray together every night or morning. You have to try to eat and play together. (Think about building positive religious, intellectual, emotional and physical bonds with each other.) The key is simply to spend time together and talk! The more things you all have in common, the more there is to talk about. It doesn’t matter if you read the same books or watch the same movies or listen to the same music….try to connect and communicate! Running a mile a day has helped us accomplish this goal and has been great for my marriage as well. When I run with my daughters they love to talk! I learn more about my daughters lives in 5280 feet then I learn all day long doing anything else. If I want to talk individually to any of my children, I invite them for a run. I don’t know if it is the mild strenuous effort, the moving scenery, or the fact that they don’t have to make direct eye contact; but they seem to open up and talk about anything! They also seem to be more susceptible to admonitions and corrections while we are out on a non-threatening run.
We like to run, and occasionally race together!!
Obviously, there is a physical advantage to streaking together! Although a mile a day won’t turn your kids into ultrarunners or ironmen, it will teach them the value of exercise, the pleasure of being in nature, and get them away from their electronics…unless they are uploading their results on Strava! But the greatest advantages are mental and spiritual, and you don’t have to be a serious runner to understand that! Just about anyone knows how much a short run or a walk in the park strengthens your psyche! It’s safe to say that I don’t have all the answers, but when it comes to raising your kids, I suggest taking it one mile at a time!