Marathon truly a family affair

Matthew and Jessica Van Mulligen are eager to follow in their daddy’s footsteps on the distance running circuit.

Jessica Van Mulligen

Matthew and Jessica Van Mulligen are eager to follow in their daddy’s footsteps on the distance running circuit.

For the second year in a row, the 13-year-old twins have joined father John Van Mulligen in the Woody’s RV World Marathon and Half Marathon held Sunday in Red Deer.

Matthew said he was inspired by his father to start running. After all, his father helped found the event, now in its 11th year.

And it didn’t take much prodding from his father to lace up. Matthew is an all-round athlete.

In January, Matthew began training four or five times a week for the half marathon. His sister did the same kind of effort.

“I do short runs and then run a long run every week,” said Matthew.

And the training, which Matthew says isn’t that gruelling, has paid off.

Last year, he placed first in the 19-and-under category after finishing in at just over one hour, 37 minutes. He bettered his finish this year with a one hour, 33 minute finish.

Jessica also finished quicker than last year, coming in at two hours, three minutes. Part of her game plan involves resting up the day before and eating lots of carbohydrates prepared by her mother. On race day, the teen tries to set a good pace without running too fast.

“I really like getting out and challenging myself, especially the last part of the run,” said Jessica.

Jessica also enjoys dancing and playing on all the sports teams at Gateway Christian School, where her brother also attends.

Both children figure they’ll keep running well into their adulthood. John Van Mulligen said he’s proud that his children take such a dedicated interest in marathon running and sports in general.

“He doesn’t push them, but helps them by encouraging them,” said wife Loree, who supports her family from the sidelines.

Van Mulligen, 55, donned his runners in 1979 and since then has competed in 73 marathon/half marathon events and seven Ironmans. This August, he will enter Ironman Canada in Penticton, B.C. which involves a 3.8-km swim, 180-km cycle and 42.2-km run.

He remembers when he kicked off the first Red Deer marathon event in 1999. There were 555 runners then, he said.

Sunday’s event attracted more than 1,100 runners for the 13-km half-marathon and 42-km marathon.

Almost 500 runners from Central Alberta were joined by participants as far away as New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The participants consumed a lot of food and beverages on hand — including five cases of oranges, 2,500 cookies and 1,300 juice boxes. Any leftovers were given to the Loaves and Fishes charity.

Several hundred volunteers help, including individuals with the Parkinson’s Society of Southern Alberta, the official charity for the 2009 race.

Society co-ordinator Marilynne Herron said they supplied 20 volunteers and in turn, the marathon organizers gave $3,000. That money will be used for client services in the Red Deer area.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Open house on proposed addictions treatment centre to be held at former Red Deer nightclub

Community is invited to learn more about the $2-million project on May 2

Sri Lanka expats wait to reconnect amid social media block

NEW YORK — Viji Devadas hasn’t heard from her nephew in Sri… Continue reading

US expands probe into air bag failures to 12.3M vehicles

DETROIT — U.S. auto safety regulators have expanded an investigation into malfunctioning… Continue reading

New study suggests oilsands greenhouse gas emissions underestimated

New federal research suggests greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s oilsands may be… Continue reading

New commemorative loonie marking ‘progress’ for LGBTQ2 people to be unveiled today

TORONTO — The Royal Canadian Mint is unveiling a new commemorative loonie… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Sri Lankan-Canadians mourn victims of terrorist attack in their homeland

Sri Lankan-Canadians were gathering Monday to mourn those killed in a massive… Continue reading

Residents along Saint John River told to remain on alert as floodwaters rise

FREDERICTON — People who live along New Brunswick’s Saint John River are… Continue reading

Prince Edward Island voters to cast verdict on new electoral system

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are expected to learn late Tuesday whether the cradle… Continue reading

Most Read