“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,” he said.
However, Kilgore is getting a bit restless on the sidelines.
“I haven’t been running at all and I’m so far out of shape. But I am getting a little tired of taking the boys to a race and just watching. And I see people who are slower than me participate in the 5K level while I’m just sitting there. It’s not a good feeling, so I thought I might make a little change.”
Before getting into the car to take Noah, 13, (his brother Micah is recovering from a stress fracture) to run XTERRA Thrill in the Hills last Saturday, Kilgore dressed in running clothes.
“It was about a 20 minute drive to the race and on the way, I decided not to race after all,” said Kilgore. “You know the justifications. It was too early, I was too sleepy, and I haven’t been running at all.”
But once he was there and immersed in the energy of the trail running crowd, Kilgore found his courage.
“I thought, just maybe I could do it? I inquired if they were taking race-day registrations, and they said, yep and signed me up.”
He went back to his car and surprised Noah by showing him his race number. “I told him I signed up for the 5K.”
“Dad,” Noah said. “Are you sure it’s a 5K? I thought it was a 5-miler.”
“I told him nope, it’s a 5K,” said Kilgore. “But he kept asking if I was sure.”
Finally, Kilgore got on his phone and found his own surprise. The shortest race of the day at XTERRA Thrill in the Hills was a 5-miler and not a 5K.
“I told Noah that this changes things a lot. Maybe I was competitive enough to get through a 5K on no training, but a 5-miler? Yet, I just couldn’t bear paying $40 and not running so I told myself that maybe I could suck it up and do it.”
Kilgore persevered and finished the race.
“It was a tough go,” he admitted of the challenging course, “But I hope it’s a jump start for me.”
At XTERRA Thrill in the Hills, Noah ran the 21K and won his age group in a speedy 1:37:54, which averages to a 7:28 pace.
David Bell was the overall 21K winner in 1:26:51, Jim Rose was second in 1:29:03, and Duane Oftedahl was third in 1:29:47. In the women’s division, Gracie Griffith blazed the trail in 1:30:27, Deanna McCurdy was second in 1:34:56, and Michelle McKenzie was third in 1:35:30.
We look forward to seeing Keith Kilgore joining his sons in more races this year. Once again, they will be returning to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship as well as the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on Oahu in December.
For now, Kilgore is repaying his son Noah by sharing Teylar Adelsberger’s story from last week.
“I want him to know how she goes to the gym and lifts weights and how important nutrition is,” he said. “I just saw Noah put some kale into his protein smoothie, so maybe it’s working.”
The Comsudes are another Georgia family chasing after their kids. Sam Comsudes, 10, began running when he was six, and a year later was the AAU National Cross Country Champion in the boys 7-8 division (2K race). In 2017, he was second in the same race, despite having moved up an age group and distance (3K).
Gabi Comsudes, 13, is also an outstanding runner. While Gabi was skiing in New Hampshire last weekend, Sam and his mother Maria both had podium performances at XTERRA Thrill in the Hills.
Sam placed second overall in the 5-mile run, setting a pace of 6:48 per mile. His mother, Maria, was second in her age group in the same race. This was her first time running five consecutive miles since recovering from Achilles tendonitis.
“I was just grateful to be out there with Sam,” said his mom. “The trails were beautiful. And it is so fun to be on a trail and know my little man is out there ahead of me.”
Mitch Novy was the overall winner of the 5-mile race in 30:52, Comsudes was second in 33:59, and Tim Spradlin was third in 34:08. In the women’s race, Jill Braley took first in 35:15, Johanna Kiehl was second in 36:12, and Clara Heppner was third in 37:06.
The XTERRA Thrill in the Hills also featured a 42K marathon on the trails. Geoffrey Whitfield won in 3:22:36, John French was second in 3:35:53, and Willy Utrilla was third in 3:36:59. For the women, Cera Jones won the trail marathon in 3:43:18, Katrina Dubcova was second in 3:52:06, and Ami Roach was third in 3:59:24.
View results from XTERRA Thrill in the Hills.