11-year-old marathoner competes for grandpa

11-year-old marathoner competes for grandpa (Image 1)

In its 11th year, the annual ING KiDS ROCK Nashville Marathon Friday at LP Field has special meaning for one local fifth grader.

Nathan Jacobs, a student at Our Savior Lutheran Academy in Nashville, started running the event five years ago in honor of his grandfather.

“He had a really bad accident and he survived and he can't run anymore,” Nathan told Nashville's News 2.

Nathan's grandpa lives in Pennsylvania and became a quadriplegic in 2007 after falling over a 50 cliff.

This year, Nathan is very excited about running for team Papa because his grandfather will be in town and will watch him cross the finish line.

It's the first time Nathan's grandfather has been able to make the journey to Nashville to see Nathan run.

“We were glad to be able to collect some shirts over the years here from his run. We had pictures to look at. We never actually had a chance to see anything even in motion so this will be kind of neat,” Jim Childs said.

He continued, “He thought it would be neat to do something active like that to sort of remember the activity I did all the time.  I was generally a pretty active fellow.”

“I do it for him because he can't run anymore,” Nathan said.  “I care about him and I am running for him.”

Next, Nathan said he wants to start competing in triathlons in his grandfather's honor.

With more than 7,000 participants, up from just 35 kids in the race's inaugural year, this year's marathon is sold out.

As participants, kids become marathon finishers by completing 25.2 miles of a 26.2 mile marathon at their own pace with guidance from parents and teachers.  They complete their final mile together on race day.

Friday's race gets underway at 5 p.m.

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