Running in the genes

David Kayes’ sons grew up supporting him when he went on some of his 100km “mad, long runs”, as well as long training runs.

Training would sometimes see David run from Devonport to Millwater on a Friday afternoon and then back to get the car on Saturday morning – 35km each way. He also liked to do a 50km-60km run around Millwater, down through Albany and the North Shore and back.

Now aged seven and 10, Coby and Jayden remember dressing up as doctors on one occasion, in case they needed to fix dad up during a run.

David, who lives in Millwater, is director of Run Auckland and president of the Hibiscus Coast Athletics Club.

His whole family runs, and in fact it was his wife Nicola who first persuaded him to join her in entering the Auckland Half Marathon. That was in 2006, and although it was hard – “I’d never run that far in my life” – he never looked back. The following year he did three half marathons in five weeks.

Silverdale School students Coby and Jayden began running in events when they were around five years old and both love to run – for the exercise, sense of freedom and fun.

For David, who has struggled with mental health issues such as anxiety, running was part of his recovery. He spoke about this in a video that can be found on the Run Auckland website.

As the boys grow up, David finds himself frequently on the sidelines, supporting and coaching. He says he loves to see the kids push themselves to achieve.

Jayden was at the top of the leader board in his age group for the Run Auckland series 2.5km dash, coming up to the final that was held last weekend in Millwater.

David says he’s just getting back into his stride after a lengthy layoff due to injury. He has the Greek Marathon in his sights, and hopes to do that in the next two years.