A decade later the first American marathon was held in Yonkers. The race attracted a number of Irish runners who took the idea home and began the Boston Marathon as a way of maintaining their heritage. They realized, like many of those in Schroon Lake this weekend, that running wasnt something they did, it was part of who they were.
George McDonald, my great grandfather, was one of those professional runners of the 1880s. He also ran in the first-ever Boston Marathon in 1896.
Can distance running be found in our genes? I doubt it, but I find it interesting that my great-grandfather was a marathon runner and a century later Ive followed in his footsteps. And who knows, maybe in another century my descendants will complete what I believe to be the ultimate physical and mental challenge.
My daughter Meaghan has been running since junior high school. She went on to become captain of her college cross-country team and is now training for her first marathon. One day while in high school she announced, I love to run; I wish I could do it all the time.
I was pleased. Im certain her great-great grandfather would be, too.
Now my younger daughter, Hannah, is running. Her first-ever race was this past Tuesday. And tomorrow Ill lace up the old running shoes one more time for the Adirondack Half Marathon. And so a family tradition, more than a century old, continues.