Love on the Run
As one half of a running couple, there are few things I love more on race day than cheering for my husband as he runs by me on an out-and-back. Of course, he’s significantly faster than me, and usually on track for breaking a course record when I see him, so I’m the one yelling my head off when I see that he’s leading the pack! He, in turn, is the one cheering for me at the top of his lungs as I run into the finisher chute. That’s the other moment I most look forward to on race day!
I’m the social runner and Patrick is the competitor, and for us, it works! Some couples idea of date night is making dinner reservations at an upscale restaurant. We’re just as happy pinning bib numbers to our shirts and heading off to a race! It may not be everyone’s idea of a romantic date, but love on the run can be a powerful way to connect with your partner. Just ask these running couples!
Sweaty is the New Sexy
Rachel Parker’s love of running began in seventh grade when she started running track. She ran all the way through junior and senior high school, discovering long distance running after graduating. Alex Garcia started running at 19 years old when he joined the Air Force.
A competitive runner by nature, Rachel admits to being focused on podium finishes and personal records. She sticks to her pace, even when her friends start slowing down.
“Rachel is competitive and likes to stay at least one step in front of me,” says Alex. “If I try to run next to her, she speeds up.”
Although she often takes the lead in a race, she makes an exception for Alex. “When Alex and I started dating we both caught pneumonia and bronchitis. We learned to slow down and take care of each other through coughing fits or vomit. In 2016, we ran the HURT 100-mile ultra together,” Rachel recounts. “We separated for a while at mile 87, but as I rounded the turn for the last quarter of a mile, I saw Alex waiting patiently for me and we finished hand in hand!”
No matter how focused they may be on a race goal, Alex and Rachel are committed to encouraging each other through the rough patches.
“We always stay together when we run, but of course, Rachel has to stay ahead of me, which motivates me to keep pace,” explains Alex. “Besides, I get the best view when she’s ahead of me!”
Encouragement isn’t the only benefit of running together. Through running, Alex and Rachel help each other live a healthier lifestyle. “I get to do my favorite activity with my best friend,” says Rachel, revealing that some of their best conversations occur during a run. Their shared passion for running also creates a deeper level of understanding… and makes for some romantic moments!
“We like to make out under waterfalls on every trail run,” confesses Alex, who admits to finding his wife hot even when she is sweaty and gross, and has been known to tell her so while she is fighting the heavy wind, gasping for air, or feeling miserable mid-climb.
The two even got engaged during a fun run on the island of Molokai. They ran from the airport to Kalaupapa Beach, where Alex had a surprise for Rachel.“Alex got down on one knee and proposed to me! The run back felt like we were on clouds!”
If you’re ever running on Oahu, don’t be surprised to find this running duo stealing kisses mid-run while training for the Fat Dog 120 Trail Race!
Love is Brewing
For parents Katie and Steve Carey of New Hampshire, running and racing can do double duty, allowing them to get in a workout and find some much-needed time alone.
“Being parents, it can be hard to get away together for dates,” Katie says. “We both enjoy running, so we often take the opportunity to get a babysitter and have race dates, and enjoy a beer or two together after. I’m still trying to catch him, but it’s part of the fun!”
Rather than dress up for a night out on the town, the Carey’s opt for lacing up their running shoes for a race that features a nice, craft beer at the finish line, or even a brew fest.
Steve and Katie’s favorite race-turned-date has always been the Millenium’s RibFest 5, Miler, because the best dates involve a meal, and this race includes free entry into the Rock’s RibFest!
Cold beer always tastes even more refreshing when you work as a team to earn it and achieve your race goals! “The best part of being a running couple is that we keep each other going. And we support each other in our goals!” exclaims Katie. “We decided long ago that our philosophy would be ‘family first’ which sometimes means we as a couple comes first. Or sometimes our relationship with ourselves comes first because we know that running it great for our mental health… My husband is super supportive of making sure I have that time. The end result is a strong family unit.”
Healthy competition is certainly present when these running parents race! Katie’s strategy is to sneak up on Steve during a race and pass him undetected. Once Steve does notice, he turns it up a notch. “It keeps it fun! He is willing to kill himself before allowing me to win. But I’ll get there one day!”
Since Steve is naturally faster, he doesn’t log as many training miles as Katie. She is confident, however, that it’s only a matter of time before her commitment to training more frequently and consistently pays off, and she beats her husband!
Being parents can be hard, making the mental health benefits of running invaluable to Katie and Steve. Although they don’t run together for most races, their support for each other in running and life provides a constant push towards personal improvement. For Carey’s, running also enables them to demonstrate to their daughter how to set individual goals, while working as a team to attain them.
If you see Steve and Katie enjoying a post-race beer, be sure to drink to these fun running parents… They’re celebrating 14 years of marriage!
Love Defies the Odds
Before they were runners, Rick and Renee Capizzi were soccer parents. While their daughter was a stand-out player, Rick was a committed coach. They were also motorcycle enthusiasts!
Ten years ago they were riding in Upstate New York, where they live when the roads became slick and wet. Although they were being safe and going slow, the bike gave out when the Capizzi’s rounded a bend in the road, rolling down an embankment. In a moment of instinctual protection, Rick threw Renee off the bike and out of harm’s way. He wasn’t so fortunate, going down with the motorcycle and consequently breaking ribs, shattering his ankle, and cracking his tibia almost all the way down. Renee was shaken up, but fine. Rick, however, has a long rod in his leg, and screws in his ankle. Doctors gave him little hope for ever walking without a limp, let alone running a single mile!
Five years later, Rick defied the odds and ran the Color Run 5k with Renee! To this day he runs 5 and 10ks with his wife as a dynamic way to stay connected as a couple. Unless they are running a hill, the two tend to run side by side. Whether out training, or in a race, Rick and Renee have an effective routine: She pushes Rick by taking the lead, and he moves to the front to motivate Renee when she starts to struggle.
They enjoy the challenge of working as a team to achieve a personal best time, but at the end of the day, they run together because they are grateful to be healthy enough to do so! “It’s about staying active, fit, and having fun and finishing!” Renee explains.
Rick and Renee’s favorite place to run is on the dirt roads they discover when camping. “With so much to take in and see, it’s an escape from any stress or concerns,” says Renee. “It’s just us, the road, the sounds, and the sun!”
As an RN, health is a priority for Renee. She takes and teaches fitness classes to stay fit, but says that the workouts she enjoys the most are those runs with Rick! “The best part is having that time that is dedicated to just us. We look and feel better, and hopefully, it helps us stay healthy as we grow old together.”
If it’s a fun race, and dressing in costumes is involved, Renee and Rick will probably be there. Catch this running couple at Rochester’s upcoming Cupid 5k, and the St. Patrick’s Day 5k in March!
This Valentine’s Day, skip the roses and dinner reservations and head out for a run! When you share your passion for running, you’ll cultivate deeper conversations, as well as mental and physical health. Not only will you find the support you need to push a little faster or run a little farther, but you may even find that running can actually be romantic!