Hawaii family makes running marathons a vacation tradition

rr marathon group

The family that runs together, stays together. The happy runners, from left to right, are Ted and Moana Meditz, and Lara and Richard Gerber.

It started out as something on their bucket lists.

Now, it’s becoming a family tradition.

Last year, sisters Lara Gerber and Moana Meditz decided to run a marathon together, and they zeroed in on Seattle’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which includes live, high-energy music along the course and post-race entertainment.

The rock music aspect appealed to Moana, who was looking for something new after participating in the Honolulu Marathon. Since Lara has a daughter living in Seattle, the two sisters decided to fly out there to give it a try.

Lara’s husband Richard and Moana’s husband Ted came along to offer support as spectators. But after seeing all the fun they were missing out on, they decided to lace up their shoes to participate in 2014.

The four recently got back from this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and before they even got a chance to unpack their medals, they had already committed to return in 2015.

The marathon is part of the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Festival, and participants have the option of doing a full or half marathon to earn a medal. With live rock bands placed a mile apart along the course, the four — all big music fans — felt energized to keep going despite facing individual challenges.

The group said various life events didn’t give them much time to train for the event.

Moana has the most marathon experience of the group, and said she usually finds, if you can run 16 miles when training, the marathon course should be fine. However, during training, the longest run she finished was eight miles. Heading into the marathon, she knew she was in for a challenge.

Meanwhile, Moana’s husband Ted was preparing for the run while trying to manage pain from a foot condition, plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. The condition prevented him from running the full marathon,  but he said the events along the course distracted him from the pain.

Lara had been suffering with some pain as well — her knee was acting up and she originally committed to running the half marathon with Ted.

But when she visited the marathon expo a few days before the run, she came across some knee wraps that she thought might help her run farther. Thanks to the knee braces, plus some peer pressure from her sister, she decided to run the full marathon.

Richard had actually tried to consistently train, working up to a 10-mile regimen every few days. Finishing was a particularly sweet accomplishment for him given that he had a hip replacement in 2010.

“When I had my hip replacement, everyone told me that I wouldn’t be able to run anymore,” Richard said. “But I was determined to accomplish something with my new hip.”

And accomplish he did. Richard ended up clocking in with a better time than any of his previous marathon finishes with his old hip.

rr marathon medalDespite the event’s rock ‘n’ roll revelry, the real highlight for group was the chance to travel and participate as a family.

As Richard puts it, “We really drew off of each other and were excited for months to go up together. We all fed off of each other and it pulled us through. I don’t think any of us would’ve made it without the other.”

The group also credits Honolulu Marathon clinics for useful tips that they were able to apply in Seattle, such as loading up on carbohydrates two days prior to the marathon for energy. In fact they said they’re so grateful, they’d like to participate as volunteers in future marathons in Hawaii.

In the meantime, they’ll be scouring the internet for travel deals to book flights for next year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Just talking about next year’s trip gets them all laughing. Moana says, “It was on my bucket list to do one marathon and this past marathon was my seventh.”

Ted, meanwhile, said some advice from older friends of the family is what’s keeping him training. The friends, now in their 80s, attribute their longevity to their involvement in marathons that they began running in their 40s.

The two couples are in the latter demographic right now, so those words of advice have really hit home for them. They say these marathons are strengthening their hearts for the years ahead.

rr marathon group 2

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