Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online

Messenger Boys Run with the Family Tradition

Messenger Boys Run with the Family Tradition

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Keldon and Jackson Messenger are following in their father’s footsteps. Literally.

The 12- and 11-year-old sons of Andy and Chairee Messenger have inherited a love for running, much to their marathon-competing dad’s delight. An avid runner, Andy has participated in races across the country, including the Little Rock, Houston, Chicago and Pike’s Peak marathons. He ran his first 10K at 11. As an adult, he has continued his commitment to the sport, working his way up to compete in even more strenuous events, including the prestigious Iron-Man Triathlon.

After years of witnessing their father bring home medals and awards for his racing, Keldon and Jackson decided to get in on the game. It began in December 2012, when Andy issued a challenge to his boys. He promised them $100 each if they could individually run 365 miles in the coming year, or an average of one mile per day.

The boys accepted the challenge and began running in their neighborhood, quickly marking off the miles. Over the months, they began to improve on their time and stride, and developed a passion for the sport. Both easily met their goal, hitting 365 miles several weeks before the end of the year. As promised, Andy presented each of them with $100. But the running didn’t stop there. Andy had sparked something in his sons. Keldon and Jackson wanted to press forward and challenge themselves. The boys amassed a number of their own awards from competing in 5Ks and then 10Ks.

As with their father, the boys have found a passion for running, making it a routine part of their lives and something on which to build and set new goals. Each has taken part in a number of races, and even competed in junior triathlons, which include swimming, biking and running.

Mom Chairee is very proud of her boys and what they have already accomplished in their short lives.

“I marvel at the things they are doing,” said Chairee. “I am proud of their work ethic, discipline and of how much they each put into this. This isn’t something you just jump up and stumble onto, it takes a lot of hard work and training. You can’t fake it, you have to build up to it. They are impressive and I am so proud of them.”

The values they demonstrate in their running are evident in several other areas of Keldon and Jackson’s lives, as well. They apply the same focus in their school work and in other sports. Both compete in swim and play basketball. Jackson also is a skilled soccer player and Keldon recently obtained black belt status for his martial arts.

“The boys are both excellent students and very self-motivated,” said Chairee. “I have no doubt the skills they are learning from training and running will carry over into their lives and futures. I am excited to see how they benefit from all of this as they grow up.”

Keldon and Jackson are proud of what they have been able to achieve, as well.

“I like accomplishing new things, like beating my own PR (personal record),” said Jackson. “It’s fun to push it to the limit and see what you can do.” With several 5K and 10Ks already under his belt, Jackson is stepping up to the next level, a half-marathon, in which he will compete in February. The 13.1 mile course will be the longest distance Jackson has ever run.

Older brother Keldon likes the satisfaction he receives from running, too. Having just completed the fall cross-country season, he is already looking forward to his first year of junior high track at Chaffin in Fort Smith.

“It makes you feel good to run and work your way up to the next mile,” said Keldon. “Your adrenaline gets going and it pushes you.”

Both boys are very glad their dad issued his challenge nearly two years ago and helped ignite in them a true love for running. Although Jackson considers himself the fastest, and Keldon the better distance runner, the two boys share a common desire to improve their own records and eventually follow in their dad’s footsteps of becoming marathon runners. Not yet teenagers, the two boys already are well on their way to achieving that goal. 
– Brittany Ransom

This article appears in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine.

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Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online