SAN DIEGO — Every year Jim Pathman and his son Riley participate in local and national running events, an activity they had to put on hold when the pandemic hit. But the family found a way to fill that void by running a half-marathon around their home.
“For Riley it was just this very normal thing,” Jim said. “He was fulfilled by this peace. And I’ll add that I figured out this was the best half-marathon spectating race for my wife because she didn’t have to deal with the port-o-potty, she had chocolate croissants that she made in her own oven and she had her coffee machine here, and she was able to see us every lap.”
Riley, 21, has cerebral palsy, so Jim pushes him in a state-of-the-art racing chair, which hardly slows the duo down. With a little help from some friends, it took just a few days to set up their own half-marathon.
“We ended up with a rest area, a beer garden supported by Original 40 which is a new brewery in town,” Jim said. “We had the start and finish line on the front driveway. We had a friend of ours who is a local DJ come and spin records for us so we could hear music while we were going around the house.”
Family, friends and neighbors all gathered from a distance or on Zoom to cheer on the popular duo.
“It’s brought us a community of people that doesn’t get any better,” said Lisa Pathman, equal parts wife and mother to the running team. “The racing community has embraced us.”
After 265 laps around the house, Jim and Riley completed their half-marathon in two hours, 24 minutes and 43 seconds, a time that would finish in the top half of many local half-marathons.
“It’s almost an 11-foot drop between the front of the house and the back of the house so over that 265 laps its 2800 feet of climbing as well,” Jim said.
Attempting another half- or even a full marathon around the house in the future isn’t out of the question.
“I do foresee more half marathons,” Jim said. “It made me happy to do it and I think Riley is happy to be part of it.”