An Olympic Marathon Trials Hopeful Turns Her 6-Year-Old into a 5K Finisher

Our actions truly speak louder than words, especially when it comes to our kids. The choices we make every day have an impact on our children whether we intend for them to or not. For Kris Lawrence, mother of three and competitive marathoner, her daily workouts have led to her and her daughter running together and making memories that will last a lifetime.

Lawrence is a very busy mom. She’s also a military wife who finds herself running the show solo for long stints while her husband is away on duty. When I hear the phrase, “I don’t have time to exercise,” I often think of Lawrence and her ever-decreasing marathon times and realize there are no excuses good enough. If this mommy has a 2:52 marathon PR and manages three kids on her own for many weeks of the year, anyone can find the time.

Sometimes Lawrence has to find the time by using the treadmill in her home. The fact that her treadmill is is next to her kids’ playroom may be why her influence is being felt by her daughter. Lawrence’s running is just a part of her children’s lives.

“My treadmill is next to their toy room and I’ve taken them to the track to play on the infield while I run laps more times than I can count. They always ask how far I’ve run that day and how fast I went too. I love that they ask those questions.”

Until recently, Lawrence’s running never seemed to motivate her kids to join in. Her two sons play many sports and they view running as an “extra.” However, Lawrence’s daughter, Kelsea, age 6, has chimed in and stated her desire to run the Boston Marathon someday. Lawrence explains, “She gets the running side of things and enjoys it.”

Lawrence admits that she has never really encouraged running to her children. However, one set of eyes has obviously been impressed by her mommy. Lawrence and Kelsea ran their first 5K together this spring.

“It took us so long (51 minutes) that it felt like a journey instead of a 5K. She experienced every emotion from happy, sad, dread, excitement, to elation in that race. Similar to how I feel in a marathon. It was amazing to watch her do that and to see her beaming with pride when it was over. Plus, I loved putting her in my racing singlet. It felt like a Bring Your Daughter to Work Day for me.”

While the memories are precious, Lawrence admits running with her kids is hard at times. However, she manages her struggles like the pro-runner that she is.

“My biggest struggle when it comes to running with them is the fact that they don’t understand pacing. They will sprint as hard as they can and run out of steam after 30 feet. It’s natural though and I try to encourage them to run slower for a bit longer.”

Lawrence used the phrase “I have only run one race with my daughter so far,” to describe her racing history with her daughter. “So far” implies there will surely be many more finish lines for these two in the future, especially as Kelsea watches her mommy take on some big goals. Lawrence is hoping to knock her marathon PR down to 2:47 this year and continue to decrease her time to eventually make it to the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials. Lawrence shares her journey on her blog

Imagine the story Kelsea gets to tell when asked, “what does your mommy do?” How exciting to watch her follow right in her mommy’s footsteps too. Kris has certainly laid a powerful example out there for her kids and for the rest of us also. Look around, are any little eyes watching you? Is it time for you to pass on your singlet and take a memorable running journey with your child?

Do you run with your kids? Don’t miss any of our featured parent-child running team stories in this month’s series.

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