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In my book, anyone who can juggle work, running, and parenting five kids is an inspiration. I can barely juggle work, running, and parenting just my one son. That is why I am excited to introduce you to our latest inspirational running dad, Cecil Vermule. From Ralston, NE, Cecil works hard to get his kids excited about exercising and eating right, and works to inspire others around him as well. With a 12-year-old and 8-year-old son and three daughters ranging from 22 months to 8-years-old, he has his work cut out for him.
How and when did you get involved in running?
In early Spring 2012 I was walking to the parking garage where I park for work. It is about a 1/2 mile walk to/from. The last 1/4 mile to the parking garage is up hill. This particular day I got to the garage and was out of breath. I was heaving a little bit and I actually said to myself that I have to do something because I am not old enough to be out of breath after walking 1/2 a mile. I contacted the fitness center at work and got a fitness test done to get my baseline. They worked with me to put together a plan with weights and cardio (primarily running). Before I knew it I was hooked on running.
What is your proudest running moment?
I have a few. (Sorry, I have to share two) In August of 2012, 4 of my kids ran a 1/2 mile run. I was running alongside my now 8-year-old son who has Prader-Willi Syndrome. This syndrome leaves him hungry every minute of every day, developmentally delayed, and with low muscle tone. (Any more questions about the syndrome, feel free to contact me.) So, I was a little worried about how well he would do. The awesome part was that my 12-year-old son (10 then) ended up finishing 1st. He beat out the kids that were older than him that were running as well. I saw my girls finishing not too much after that. While my other son and I were running back, my wife started cheering for him. Before I knew it he picked up his pace. It was not but a few more seconds and the whole crowd was cheering for my son. He ran the rest really hard. They all got their medals and then went to get their goody bags and shirts. It was an amazing moment.
My most recent proudest moment was running my 1st trail run. It was really challenging as it was a distance PR. I ran just over 21 miles. The 1st half I got to run with my awesome running friend Rachel. She ran the 1st 10.5+ mile loop and I ran it twice. She even got to give me my medal at the end because she volunteered after she finished. My wife and kids showed up to see me finish. I was in tears, not only at how far I had come but that I had such an amazing family to support me.
How do you inspire your kids to run and/or exercise?
We strive to teach them that healthy eating and exercise will help keep them strong throughout life. My wife and I did not have the healthiest childhoods ourselves, but we are changing our ways. (Yes, at my age it is hard but I am doing it.) So, we are trying to show them that they can achieve whatever distance they want to strive for. The 4 oldest kids have already done a fun run. My oldest son actually ran my 1st 5k with me. We talk all the time about different runs that I have done and will be doing. The old older 2 of our kids ran a 4k mud run called Muddy Heroes last May; and the older kids all are planning on running it this year. All of the kids keep asking us when “our” next run is. Even when it is me running they ask when “our” run is going to be.
How do you try to inspire others?
I try to encourage those around me to stay active by being consistently active myself. I am also trying to eat healthy and help my children make the healthy choices. They even talk to their teachers about what the healthy options are during school lunch. I am now a Team Run This Year Ambassador and am challenging others to set a goal and see if they can meet it. My personal goal is 2,014 km. I should be able to reach this goal as I am training for my 1st marathon in May of this year, and possibly my 2nd in September. I may even run my 1st ultra-marathon later this year.
What is your proudest parenting moment?
My proudest moment is everyday. My kids do something everyday to amaze me. They are so smart and are working hard at being athletic. We have 4 of my 5 kids in taekwondo. We have 2 purple belts, a green belt, and a camo belt. They are an amazing brood. I am so blessed to see their report cards, watch them at taekwondo, and see them everyday.
What is your funniest parenting story?
The one that sticks out at the moment is from my daughter’s birthday party. Our youngest daughter just turned 1. So, she got a “smash cake” to “eat” by herself. She started my poking her finger in the frosting before just eating all of the frosting off of the cake from everywhere she could. The top was cleaned off, then the sides before she started digging into the cake too much. And then she dug in! Once she “had her fill” she started to fling it everywhere. It ended up on me, the walls, and most of the people standing around her. She was having fun, but the fun ended when it was bath time. She was not happy.
What advice would you give to parents out there?
Run when you can. Find the time that suits your schedule and just run! I utilize my lunch break at work to do most of my running. My boss (and company) are okay with it as many do the very same thing. They are HUGE into health, wellness, and safety. So, we are encouraged to use the fitness center that we have at work. Work times into your schedule on the weekend as well. Even if it’s just one day. Consider buying a running stroller. I know there are plenty of runners (male and female) that do this. Eventually your kids will want to run as well. My kids ask me to take them on runs all of the time now. My very 1st 5k was run with my oldest son. He was 10 when we ran, now 12. My 4 oldest have all done a run. All of them keep asking me when they get to do mud runs and we now have the opportunities in our area for them to do just that. There is a mud run specifically for kids and others now coming to the area.