Father, son shed 150 pounds, run half marathon together

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos courtesy of Thom Jennings – Thom Jennings and his son Thom Jr. both ran the Buffalo Half Marathon on Sunday, finishing the 13.1-mile course in 2 hours, 11 minutes.

ALBION – It started as a bet. Who could lose the most weight?

Thom Jennings and his two brothers-in-law had a friendly competition last year. Jennings won, losing 100 pounds through better nutrition and exercise.

This year he wanted a new goal. He set out to run a marathon. He wanted to train for the 26.2-mile race by running with his 24-year-old son, Thom Jr. The two have run five races together, with Sunday’s half marathon in Buffalo their biggest race so far. They crossed the finish line together in 2 hours, 11 minutes. There were 6,000 runners on the course.

“It was a great experience,” said Jennings, 46, of Albion. “Running has an incredible cross section of people.”

Jennings has used running to stay fit. He said he has far more energy and zest for life as a slimmer person. He works as social worker in Niagara County. He also writes music reviews and features part-time, and is a lead singer for a local band.

His son, 24, has lost more than 50 pounds since getting serious about exercise in November. Thom Jr. works for an advertising company in Buffalo. He is engaged to Erica Graham of Albion.

“I was never into running,” Thom Jr. said “But running on the streets of Buffalo, through the first ward and past the grain mills, was such an adrenaline rush. When you’re running with thousands of other people, you’re high on life.”

The father and son are pictured in May 2011, when Thom Jr. graduated from college.

The two plan to run the June 8 Strawberry Festival race together, choosing the longer 8-kilometer distance, rather than the 5k.

“It’s one thing to have the goal of losing weight, but we’ve tried to make it fun,” Thom Jr. said.

The father and son want to run a fall marathon together. Then they’re thinking about trying an ironman event, which includes running, swimming and biking.