Aaron Church, father of 3 and =PR= Race Team Member has been competing for over 33 years in endurance sports but each day he works to improve and try to get better. Aaron’s love for endurance sports has rubbed off on his three children too! Aaron is one fast dad and has three fast children too! Aaron enjoys running, swimming, biking, and training with his three children Abby, Anderson, and Aiden. Aaron could provide a lot of great advice for his children about running and racing, but here’s his top three points:
- Enjoy the process and don’t worry about the outcome. For running in particular, you spend so much time training that you have to enjoy the process. Your races or competitions may not go well, but those that stick with it are those that love the process, regardless of the outcomes.
- With all things in life, try to see the good.
- Put your phone down.
Learn more about Aaron below!
We wish Aaron and all of our =PR= Dads a very Happy Father’s Day! We hope to “see” many of you celebrate with us virtually during the Run with Dad 5K and 1 Mile race this June!
Q U I C K Q U E S T I O N S
Runner Full Name: Aaron Church
Age Category: I don’t know, but I try to race Open J. I’ll be 45 in August.
Favorite PR Race: Mother’s Day 4 Miler
Best Race Memory: 2003 Grandma’s Marathon
How did you get started running? I ran suicides fairly well in middle school basketball practice. My teammate’s Dad was the high school cross country coach and told me I should join the team. At that point, I suppose I became a runner for life.
Favorite Running Event/Distance? There is something special about starting the marathon at hour 6 or so of an Ironman in the middle of the day heat.
What is your favorite part about running/racing?
Running: Simplicity of just lacing up and heading out the door.
Racing: Love testing the body. It’s always a competition with yourself regardless of the folks around you. You are sharing the same common bond of thrashing yourself regardless of what pace you run.
Who is your biggest cheerleader/supporter?
I’d have to say my 9 year old Aiden, he is the most recent one to want to go to races with me and enjoys taking part in the PR races.
What is your Spirit Animal? Why?
Tiger, I think they are super cute and I did read something about willpower and ability to trust yourself.
What is your life’s motto? Words to live by? I don’t have anything super profound here, but the characteristic that best represents me is persistence. I have had many running injuries and bike crashes that have left me unable to put one foot in front of the other or lift my arms above my head for an extended period of time. I just accepted my starting point each time and continued incremental progress each and every day. At times, I felt like I was going nowhere, but the 1% improvements eventually do seem to snowball. I believe that this is year 33 of me racing in some form or fashion and I am still working every day to improve and/or try another approach to get better.
Best Advice You Can Give: Never quit and never give up. Things can go sideways in a race very quickly and you have to develop some form of coping skills to incrementally get through each moment. If this is a 5K, I try landmark running, for instance, getting to a street sign. If this is a marathon, especially an Ironman marathon, it’s literally just forward progress or bargaining with yourself to get to the next aid station so you can walk for 10 to 20 seconds.
T H I S O R T H A T
Distance – Long or Short
Post Race Snack – Banana or Bagel
Running Company – Alone or Together
Time of Day – Rise and Grind (Morning) or Night Time is the Right Time (Evening)
Location – Road Runner or Trail Crusher
Your running shoe of choice: Nike Infinity React for now, I am very finicky.
Top 3 Fun Facts, Tell Us Something About Yourself!
1) Played tennis at James Madison University
2) Love to train with my kids in any way, especially swimming, but the only one who is still more my speed is my 9 year old Aiden.
3) Lived and have been running the streets of South Riding, VA almost since the town’s inception, now 20+ years. I am sure there are a ton of people in my neighborhood who think/know I am loopy.
Three products I must have for every run:
1) Heart rate strap
2) Running power meter
3) Short shorts
Favorite place to run:
1) Easy, step outside the door and run in my neighborhood.
2) W&OD horse-trail.
3) Off the bike on my treadmill at home.
Running is . . . freedom.
My last run was . . . an 8 mile run off of a bike workout.
My favorite thing about running is . . . the complete simplicity of it.
If I wasn’t running . . . I’d be swimming or biking.
The accomplishment I am most proud of is . . . making it back to Kona after being in the ICU there in 2016.
When I grow up I want to be like . . . Ecris Williams.
Best Part about Being a Father . . . Trying to guide them, then watching them find something they are truly passionate about.
What characteristics/traits do you share with your children? Things you have in common? I am not sure they want many of my characteristics, but I’d say working on your “game.” Whatever the game may be and it is ever changing the younger they are. Last week, my 9 year old was working on his basketball game, this week he is into biking on his road bike now that he is big enough to ride it. For my middle child, Anderson, it is all about strength training and swimming, which has stayed pretty consistent over several years. For my oldest, Abby, it’s about navigating her way through the summer before her senior year in high school, making sure that she is doing her best to run or do triathlon in college.
Proudest Moment as a Father . . . I have been taught by my wife not to single one moment out, especially if it only involves one of my kids.
How do you hope to spend Father’s Day this year? I’d love to be able to swim with my kids again…
What is your favorite part about being part of the =PR= Race Team? I am part of the “old guard.” I have known Ray and Cathy for a pretty long time. Ray used to put the hammer down on me. They have always been very good to me, both in their support for running and in triathlon. The races are always very well done, accurate, safe, and just a great way to get to know yourself better, regardless of the distance.