Runner profile: The Hajek/Scheid family

Runner profile: The Hajek/Scheid family

This is one of a series of profiles on runners training for one of the Illinois Marathon races.

Name: Bruce Hajek and Beth Scheid, and daughters Brittany Scheid and Brianna Hajek
Hometown: Urbana
Age: Bruce, 54; Beth, 52; Brittany, 16; Brianna, 14
Occupation: Bruce: University of Illinois electrical and computer engineering professor; Beth: associate director of CITES at the UI; Brittany: senior at University Laboratory High School; Brianna: freshman at University Laboratory High School
Race: Bruce: marathon; Beth and Brianna: half-marathon; Brittany: training for the half until she was injured, now volunteering and cheering on her family.

Running is a family activity for the Hajek/Scheid clan.

Get them together and they’ll talk about training runs, and why they run. Theories of running, recovering from a long run, a favorite vacation run.

Bruce Hajek is a longtime runner, and he’s become a triathlete as well, completing two Ironmans. He got his wife, Beth Scheid, started running. The two even ran a 5-mile race on their wedding day, with their best man and maid of honor.

And the couple inspired their children as well.

Brittany started running at 11 when a PE teacher helped her class build up their running until the students could do a mile. She started joining her parents at the Second Wind Running Club’s weekly fun runs, and a few years later, Brianna joined in as well.

However, Bruce has not been able to convince his family that the best recovery from a long run is a soak in a bathtub filled with icy water.

The entire family will be participating in the Illinois Marathon events in some way.

Last year, Bruce, Beth and Brittany ran the half-marathon, and Brianna ran the 5K. They enjoyed running through their hometown, seeing people they knew and introducing out-of-towners to the community.

This year, Bruce is doing the marathon and the rest of the family has been training for the half-marathon. But Brittany has a stress fracture, so she’ll be volunteering and cheering for her family on race day instead of running.

She’s disappointed, but she’s found a silver lining. Her senior prom is the same night, and “I’ll be more awake,” she said.

Brittany has watched a lot of races and cheered on her parents and other runners. She loved being on the other side of things at last year’s race.

“Being part of it and having people lining the streets, cheering for you ... it was a great role reversal,” she said.

The family has been participating in Second Wind’s training groups for the marathon and half-marathon.

“It’s the fun, the social aspect of training with a group,” Beth said.

“I met so many people from all walks of life. Really interesting people,” she continued. “It was such a nice aspect that had you looking forward to those long runs.”

The social aspect is what drew Brianna into training for the longer race. But she did not look forward to the long runs, and she found them boring at first. But she’s learned how to get through them.

“I have to be patient and accept that I’m going to be running for a long time and start talking to people, and then they pass quickly,” she said.

“I still have mixed feelings about running,” Brianna added. “I think I mostly run for the social aspect.”

A 9-mile run the family did in England during Spring Break illustrated for Brittany how her family has fun together. They stopped mid-run in an orchard for a snack, where other (less casually dressed) families were having tea and scones.

“Some families go out for Sunday drives. Some go for Sunday walks,” Brittany said. “Here we are going out for a Sunday run. Mom and Dad in front, the kids in back, going along, just running.”

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