Jody and Bryan Singletary at the New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon on Super Bowl Sunday. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, February 10, 2014 11:19 AMLACASSINE — For 26.2 miles on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday, Bryan Singletary and son Jody were stride-by-stride.
The Singletarys competed in the New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon and stayed next to each other for the entire race.
The marathon was the third finished by Bryan and second by Jody, but was the first they ran adjacent to each other.
Jody said he would not have been able to finish the race without Bryan.
“Out of the two of us, he is the runner,” Jody said. “I had a very bad day, I would have quit at mile 17 if it were not for him.”
Bryan talked Jody through the race.
“Normally, we try to change the subject, but this was such a rough one that we never had a chance to,” Bryan said. “It was just tough. Normally, we talk about football, our fantasy sports, whatever, to get our minds off the race.”
“Running with him is a big help, when I want to stop, he encourages me,” Jody said. “For my first one, I wanted it to be an accomplishment for me, so we chose to run separately. This weekend, we ran the whole thing together, stayed stride-for-stride the entire way.”
Bryan, 54, started running after starting a walking regimen for exercise.
“I started 10 or 12 years ago, I was fat and started walking and it just evolved,” he said. “I ran my first 5K about 10 years ago. I have done a marathon each of the past three years, two in Houston and one in New Orleans. I had run a half-marathon at the Swamp Stomp in Lake Charles.”
Bryan was drawn to the challenge of completing a marathon. Jody often joined him on long training runs.
“I went online and found an 18-week training program, he said. A short week would be 30 miles or so with a long run on the weekend. A long week would be about 50 miles. The first 20-mile run was a killer, it was bad. We barely made it and never thought we could go any further.
“The first marathon, my goal was just to finish. It was bad, I started cramping up at mile 19 or 20. I finished, but it wasn’t easy. I kept going, but I couldn’t bend my leg. Crossing the finish line was worth it, but it was painful. It wasn’t bad, just a chip on the side. I just thought it was a pain, you get those when you run, you just have to deal with it.”
Seeing Bryan complete his first marathon inspired Jody.
“I was on the sidelines for his first marathon, I was hanging out about mile 20 looking for him,” Jody said.
“At mile 23, he looked pretty bad so I just stayed with him and followed him on the sidewalk the rest of the way. I didn’t know if he was going to make it. I had not seen anyone run a marathon before, I did not know they were supposed to look like that.”
After that, Jody decided to run one himself.
“I had seen him do it, I liked running and was looking for a challenge,” he said. “We run together on Sundays. I would run the second half of his long runs with him when he was training for a marathon, so I gave it a shot to see if I could do it. My first marathon was emotional. It started off pretty bad, it was cold and rainy. Then it was pretty nice for a couple of hours, people were cheering and running all around you, but then around mile 21 I cramped up real bad. The last five miles were agony.”
While Jody was just trying to get to the finish line in that race, Bryan was trying to improve his time.
“The second one, I wanted to break four hours, which I did,” he said.
“I ran 3:56. Getting that goal felt good. After that one, I just wanted to finish this one with Jody. I am debating whether or not I will do another one. I am not sure he will. It is hard training by yourself. I might find a new challenge. I have to have something to keep exercising. I can’t just not have a goal. I have considered a triathlon, but I don’t like swimming. I can do it, but I don’t really care for it. It is a new challenge, gives me a reason to exercise. Otherwise I would just sit on the couch and watch TV.”
About a dozen family members cheered the duo on in New Orleans. Bryan said the support helps finish the last few miles.
“When you hit mile 20, you have nothing left, you just have to learn how to fight through that,” he said. “When you are 15 feet away and you see your grandkids, you know you have to finish. You get a lot of extra energy then.”
Jody said sports have always been a big part of his relationship with his father.
“We are competitive in a friendly way, in just about anything,” he said.
“But when it comes to running there is no competition. He is the rabbit and I am just chasing.”
Warren Arceneaux writes a weekly column on interesting people in Southwest Louisiana each Monday. Have a story idea about someone in Southwest Louisiana? Call him weekdays at 494-4087. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.