Nutrition & Health
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Date Posted: 1 September 2023
We've come to the final part of our Father's Day Blog Series, and it's going out with a bang.
Meet Ben, Rowan and our very own Bruce (who may have helped you with your shoe choice), these guys all love running and have a rich array of stories to share..
Ben Bergen, @ben_likes_to_run
How many children do you have and how old are they?
4 children under 5 years of age
What is your sport/exercise of choice and how long have you been doing it?
Running, with a focus on trail running. I've been running trails since 2014 and actively competing since 2016.
Do you have a favourite location or national park to exercise?
It's either Lamington National Park or the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. Two vastly different environments but beautiful in their own way.
What is your favourite piece of equipment that you always use before/during/after your exercise?
I try to keep things pretty simple when I run, I'll take my trusty Altra running shoes and usually the Naked run belt if I need to carry anything.
What is something you have learned since combining exercise and kids in your life?
Don't take yourself too seriously, I try to take the kids out in the double run pram and make sure we stop to look at any animals we may spot, or find a new park to play in.
What are some challenges you have faced? How did you overcome them?
Prioritising family time, work and training can be hard but not impossible. I try to run at lunch time, or after the kids are in bed to not disrupt other parts of the day. It's not always perfect but you do what you can. Also sleep whenever you get the chance, it's the best recovery tool out there.
What has been your greatest achievement in your sport?
3rd place at the BVRT 50 miler in 2021, I have a lot of history running at events, having run the marathon and 100 miler there. To have a good race and finish on the podium made me very proud.
Do you have any future goals for your sport?
Try and maintain a regular level of fitness and race when the opportunities arise. I have a few bucket list races, but there is plenty of time to do those.
Do your children have any involvement in your sport?
They occasionally join me for a pram run or slow bush walk. It's something I'm looking forward to as they get older. Taking them on some adventures on the trails.
How do you encourage your children to be active?
Trying to make it fun, exercise or being active can feel like a chore if it's not done in the right spirit. Make a game of it and they will love it.
How do you incorporate sport into your daily/weekly routine?
I'm not super structured with my training, I'll have a weekly time/distance goal but often just wing it. I'll run at lunch when working in the office and try to schedule a long run each weekend around family time.
What advice would you give to another dad wanting to get into exercise/sport but may be unsure as to where to start?
Don't put too much pressure on yourself at the start to exercise a set number of times a week, try to integrate it into your usual routine. Whether that's commuting by bike or running, using lunch breaks to exercise etc. You will find a routine that works for you.
Rowan Cassidy, @runrowanrun
I have two boys 5 and 7
I started running 6 years ago after getting inspired by my older brother who I only met when I was 25. I started at my local parkrun here in Brisbane and just got hooked on the sport and community is so inspiring
I train a lot on my local roads in the late afternoons but I really enjoy a peaceful trail run out past The Gap creek reserve up to south D’Aguilar National Park.
My favourite piece of equipment would have to be my Garmin Fenix 6 pro solar watch, I can’t go anywhere without it as it gives me all the data I need.
There is one thing I wouldn’t change for the world and that’s my two boys. Sometimes after a long day, having that run or choice of exercise calms the mind and simplifies life and really helps to break down the stress of the day or weeks to help clear the mind.
Everyone has their challenges, big or small. I remember losing my grandma who I got to spend a lot of time with as a kid and she just filled my soul with love and care whenever I got to visit her. After the funeral instead of having a few drinks I headed off to the closest mountain and ran to the top and sat there and looked out over the open fields and remembered the good times immersed in nature and it made me smile and it felt like she was there with me and I owe that to running.
I would love to say being on a podium or running my first 100 miles but to be honest it’s the friendships and relationships created through sport. Before running I was a martial arts instructor for 12 years and made a lot of friends in that sport, they were basically family and now in the running space I've created new bonds and have really got to meet a lot of people I can now call friends. Hanging out and training with like minded people just sets you up for a win in my books.
I’m now an ultra runner and have some big races I would love to do one day but this year my biggest goal was to run over 200km in one run which I got to do at Dead Cow Gully Ultra and now after achieving that I’m taking on the Great Southern Endurance Run- one of Australia's toughest ultras which is 165km over the Victorian alps with 10,500m of vertical gain so that’s my biggest goal for the year.
They definitely enjoy coming along and running for a little bit. Until it’s too far then it’s time to head back.
Yeah definitely, they get pretty pumped to be entered into an event. There’s a fair few kids races at a lot of trail events and sometimes Parkrun on a Saturday if their out of bed early enough.
Running for me is a daily routine. I run late afternoons or really early in the morning and try to fit around work and family life
It’s easy to say but jump in, if it has one positive outcome it’s worth it. Everyone knows someone that does an activity and if it’s something you're even slightly interested in, ask them if you can jump in and go from there. I always believe we should not try to extend our life but fit as much life into what we have.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
I found running to be one of the best sports I’ve ever done. You can go anytime that suits, so it’s very versatile in that sort of way. You don’t have to be fast because you can head out the door and just move your legs over and get the benefits of exercise in the most simple way. Races and adventures come later, it’s basically just get out the door and that’s the hardest part done.
Bruce (pictured in stylish hat)
2. One boy and one girl
Athletics. Started in 1970, 52 years ago. Commenced with school cross country, cycling to school and a paper-run as training with touch football at lunchtime for speed work. Joined the states top distance club 6 months later with a group of 20 athletes of all ages for trackwork.
I am lucky enough to have a recreation trail across the road from my place. I can venture into the Glasshouse Mountains National Park and Beerburrum State Forest, or head in the other direction into Mt Mee State Forest and DÁugilar National Park. My favourite of these has to be a dry weather run into the Blackrock section of Beerburrum State Forest.
My socks. Have to be Balega Blister Resist Mohair in a quarter or crew length. This helps to keep the sand and grit from entering the socks around the ankle. So soft and last for ages.
Kids love to exercise and will copy their parents wherever possible. Both my wife and I have continued to exercise for health, fitness and coaching since retiring from international competition
I have always been competitive and retiring was the most difficult. I was still racing at age 63. My daughter bought a house and between our place and hers I have become more involved with landscaping and building structures. I needed another focus in life to move on to.
Representing Australia in the World 100k Champs and finishing in the top 25%. My favourite memory was in the previous year in a NZ v's Aus 100k teams race, first 3 to count. All members run 100km. It was cold, snow covered Alps in December. First 20km was ok, but I was walking and wearing all my warm weather gear to try to warm up. Around 40km, I started to come good and finished strongly to be third Aussie across the line having passed the third Kiwi in the home straight. Australia won the teams event by 3 mins after 21 hours of runners combined total time.
To stay healthy and fit enough to encourage our grandson into the greatest adventure on earth. He loves to run.
Both our children joined Little Athletics with our daughter reaching state titles and our son winning state titles. Our daughter moved into netball and our son into touch football.
Allow them to choose their sports and assist with technique and drills correctly for their events before forging ahead. It is difficult to change bad technique once it has been in-grounded as the norm for many years.
Before kids - Training twice a day before and after work with little or no night life. Since kids have arrived I train once a day with more quality sessions and less focus on long slow distance. These days I walk 3 times a week and run 3 times and bike ride the other. Something every day.
Kids love to exercise and explore. Try short bushwalks and runs. Once the kids are tired you can put them in a running stroller for a longer resistance run. Park Runs are a great family event. Join a club. There are so many like minded people where you can pick up training tips and running buddies. Do a speed session at least once a week.