Like all brothers, the Kilgore brothers have their differences. While they both started running when they were younger, as part of a school club, Micah claims he runs to stay in shape, while Noah has been looking forward to joining his school’s cross-country team since he was eight. Noah is whippet thin like a marathoner, while Micah looks like he was born to run mountains.
What they both share is a clear talent for running. At last month’s XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Ogden, Utah, both boys won their age groups, surprising some and impressing everyone.
The Kilgores live in Atlanta, so altitude training wasn’t in the cards.
“It was a tough course,” admits Noah, age 13. “The first hill was hard, and I told Micah, ‘This is just the first mile.’ Then someone said, ‘Good job, bro,’ and he said he was from California and was from sea level too. He didn’t walk at all and that gave me motivation. He was just getting things done.”
The brothers ran together for the first three miles until Micah had to back off a bit because of a cramp.
“Noah always runs ahead of me,” says Micah. “He only runs with me if he wants to go slow.”
Micah’s modesty belies his own skill and dedication.
“Here’s how serious Micah is,” says his father Keith. “A month before he turned 16, we asked what he wanted to do – go to the Grand Canyon, go to Universal Studios in Orlando, go to Atlantis in the Bahamas. He said he would think about it, and then a couple of weeks later, he told me that what he wanted for his sixteenth birthday was permission to run a marathon.”
Micah admits that the sport has grown on him. “Plus, I like being fast.”
Noah agrees. “Running is a sport that I think, you just have to enjoy it. And I enjoy it enough to go to XTERRA races and to travel to state meets.”
Their father is in charge of finding races for them, and the boys are in charge of deciding if they want to do them or not.
“I tell them, ‘Here are some races. I don’t care if you run them or not.’ I just want to give them the opportunities. Last year I found an XTERRA race in Morristown, Tennessee. It was a half marathon, which the boys love, and I knew they liked running on the trails. I said, ‘You might want to try that because it might be fun.’”
Noah decided to try XTERRA Panther Creek, where he finished third overall. He had so much fun that both boys decided to fly to Utah for the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in September.
In addition to running, the boys are also excellent tennis players and are into student leadership. Micah will be driving soon, and he is looking forward to a little more freedom to spend time with his friends.
Keith Kilgore is a federal employee, but he and his wife have a small marriage ministry dedicated to military couples and those married to first responders. In addition to counseling others, Keith is equally introspective about himself.
“It’s a real balancing act between saying my kids are good versus is this really what they want,” admits the soft spoken Kilgore. “You know, you gotta be really vigilant that you aren’t living vicariously through your kids. Between the academic opportunities, the tennis opportunities, the cross-country opportunities, I have to really keep in check that I’m not getting them to do something so I can live through that. It’s difficult and you have to be honest with yourself.”
For now, it appears that he is doing just fine. And if Noah and Micah are examples of the next generation of trail runners, XTERRA is doing just fine too.