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Everyone, meet my good friend and new dad, Luke Kirby. I first met Luke in 2008 when I was participating as a mentor with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. We grew our friendship while training for the Marine Corps Marathon, and continue to talk almost daily (along with a few other select runners, all of whom I met through Team in Training). As a marine, husband, father, and overall good guy, I find Luke to be an inspiration to everyone he meets.
How and when did you get involved in running?
I joined the Marine Corps while still in High School and started running as a way to get in shape ahead of shipping out. Eventually I took it to the next level, running everything from 5K and 10k races to half and full marathons. I have also done some “theme” races such as Tough Mudders, Krispy Kreme challenges, and Run-A-Mucks.
What is your proudest running moment?
I’d have to say that my proudest moment was crossing the finish line of my 1st marathon (Marine Corps Marathon in 2008), which I ran for charity (Team In Training) in honor of a colleague who was battling (and has since won her battle against) leukemia. It was an experience I will never forget. During my time with Team in Training, I forged lasting friendships and helped raise money for an amazing cause.
How do you inspire your kid to run and/or exercise?
I talk to my young son about running and take him out for short runs in our jogging stroller. He might not know it yet, but he is going to be a star.
How are you an inspiration to others?
I strive to be the best I can be at all that I do. I believe when you strive to be your best you unconsciously inspire others to do the same. Be the example you want others to be.
What is your proudest parenting moment?
Hands down the birth of my son. I am sure that there will be many more moments along the way, but so far nothing in my life has compared to holding my son for the first time.
What is your funniest parenting story?
My wife had mostly girls in her family growing up and never dealt with young boys. On one of her first diaper changes my son began peeing (with impressive range). While getting soaked my wife lunged for the first thing in sight, which happened to be a receiving blanket and used it to absorb the blast. The look on her face and her reaction were priceless!
What advice would you give to running dads out there?
Enjoy every moment of parenting because they grow SO fast (even in the first few weeks)! I thought my nephews/nieces were young until they met my son and now I realize just how big they have gotten in seemingly no time at all. To balance running and parenting is all about time management. If you are truly dedicated you will make the time one way or another. It does, however, help to have an understanding spouse (or a local Grandparent).
Running is a love/hate relationship that will give you only what you give it. It is why you get up early in the morning when you want to sleep in and why you choose a glass of water and a salad over a beer and some nachos (or why you don’t feel guilty sticking with the nachos!). Runners are the most welcoming community I’ve ever encountered because we all “get it”. It is all about challenges – finding barriers, breaking those barriers, and then going after the next one. As a new runner don’t measure yourself against anything or anyone else, just start running and you will find your way.
Also, definitely run a marathon at least once. You will find the truth somewhere between mile 18 and 26.2 when you have exhausted every fiber of your being and everything you thought you were running for feels inadequate. It is an accomplishment you will wear like a badge of honor the rest of your life.
What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
People can follow me on Twitter at @aManNamedluke.