jake hishon and his six-year-old son, Emmett, needed a reason to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto and explore the outdoors. Jake booked a week-long adventure to British Columbia’s Okanagan region, where the two engaged in water sports, hiking and a 25K trail race.
While Jake was looking for things to do with his son at Silverstar, resort, he stumbled upon the Slay The Dragon 25K on ultrasignup.com. “I saw the race had a generous cut-off time, and the course didn’t seem too crazy,” says Jake. He told us that he has been wanting to get more into trail running, and has done many 5K races with his young son in the past. “25K seemed like a gentle distance for Emmett and me, and running has been a sport he has always liked,” says Jake.
Jake chatted with the race director before signing up, and explained their situation. “Our goal was to try it, and if we get tired, we’ll stop,” says Jake. “We were not trying to win–just to try it, see how we do, and take it from there.”
The 38-year-old entrepreneur and father of two fell in love with trail running because it provided a refreshing change to Toronto’s urban running environment. “There are so many different aspects to running on the trails that you don’t get to experience in the city,” Jake says. He believes his frequent trips out west with his wife and children provide an opportunity to immerse themselves in nature and find joy in being outdoors.
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Heading into the 25K, Jake said Emmett was nervous, but they prepared for the race by hiking five kilometers the day before. Starting from the back of the pack, the duo maintained their pace throughout the race, embracing the occasional fall (no injuries reported) and aid stations filled with treats for Emmett. They completed the 25K trail race in six hours and 23 minutes, finishing last of all 84 participants.
Jake said the two took a lot of breaks, but stressed that he did not have to carry Emmett at any point. “I carried all the supplies. I was the pack mule,” says Jake. “Emmett never wanted to quit. He was excited to reach the aid stations, where they had snacks for him.”
Once the two returned to the village after covering 25 kilometers with 561 meters of elevation gain, Emmett was keen to receive his medal and show it off to everyone. When Emmett was asked what he had learned from the race, he said, “It was pretty fun.”
“I wanted it to be something he could look back on and be proud of,” says Jake. “Emmett would receive encouragement from total strangers, and it was a neat opportunity to see him receive gratitude.”
Jake was wary of the discouragement he might get from doing this activity with his son, but he found everyone at the race to be supportive. “We both looked at it as a fun way to spend a day outdoors,” says Jake.
The positive and encouraging environment inspired Jake and Emmett to plan future races. Emmett is eager to participate in the 6 km kids’ run at the Canadian Death Race in Grand Cache, Alta., this August, while Jake aims to tackle the 124K.
Reflecting on their adventure, Jake couldn’t help but recognize Emmett’s enthusiasm for the outdoors. “Even the next day, Emmett asked me if we could head out on another hike,” Jake laughs. “You give a kid an option to explore, and, odds are, they’ll take it.”