If you are close to any Chapin family members, you've probably realized that one of the genetic commonalities is that we don't really know when to quit- when to quit making jokes, when to quit arguing, when to quit singing loudly- So it only makes sense that that level of persistence has manifested itself in a physical way through running. All four of my immediate family members have been into distance running at some point or another in varying degrees. Here is a brief profile.
Mom: My mother used to run and bike all the time when I was growing up with her longest race a half-marathon. A broken collar bone, however, made it fairly obvious when she should "quit." She's still a frequent exerciser, though her greatest feat of endurance has probably been putting up with my dad.
Sister: Melanie has also run a half-marathon and spends the rest of her time chasing around two crazy sons. (I love my nephews!) Regardless of what kind of shape I am in, she can kick my butt on hills. She is the exception to the Chapin stereotype in that she not only knows when to quit, but also knows when not to start.
Dad: My dad has run plenty of ultras, including one attempt at a 100 miler. He had to pull out at the 68 mile mark, but that's about 10 times more than most people ever run in a single stretch, so I think he did pretty well for himself. He did get to cross the finish line with my brother in the 2009 Arkansas Traveler. See pic below.
Brother: Thomas is really establishing himself as a long-term ultra runner. Last year, he completed the Arkansas Traveler 100 Miler. Most people can't even fathom that, even fewer are able to attempt it, and about half of them are able to finish in any given race. If there is indeed a correlation between knowing when to quit socially and knowing when to quit physically, then it makes sense that Thomas will probably become the most successful runner in our family. All the same, I might still like to train for an ultra as a brother/sister combo someday.
Honorary Endurance Athlete: My Granddad.
My granddad is 92 and going strong. If anyone besides the Kenyans had a concept of distance running in 1950, I think my granddad would have been right at home in the company of marathoners. When I was in Panhandle recently, a girlfriend and I went walking while he rode his bike. At one point he said "You know, I sure could ride a lot straighter if you girls would speed up." We took the hint. Looks good, doesn't he?
So, you see that I have a lot of familial inspiration to draw from. I hope I can keep up the Chapin family tradition with a solid distance race!