Running 26 miles is a challenging feat on its own, but some runners don't do it by themselves. One Eden Prairie father will cover that distance while pushing his daughter the entire way.
"You know, it just seemed like the right time to do something, and she loves it, loves movement," explained Mike Garvin.
Take a dad, a daughter and devotion, and you've got Garvin's plan. His daughter Ashley, who was born with a brain injury, will turn 12 soon.
"She's never spoken," Mike Garvin explained. "She can't walk. She can't talk."
When asked what gave him the idea to take her along for the 26.2-mile trek, Garvin said it was a simple gesture.
"She smiled!" he recalled.
Although Ashley Garvin has epilepsy and cerebral palsy, Mike Garvin has always pushed to be active with her and his other children. Four years ago, he was instrumental in opening a barrier-free playground in Eden Prairie's Miller Park to ensure that kids with disabilities have a place where they can just be kids. In fact, that place has Ashley's name firmly attached.
Now, Mike Garvin is looking for more the two can do together.
"She enjoys it," he said.
He ended up finding his inspiration in an odd place. One of the stories out of April's Boston Marathon bombing was that of Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father-son pair that had gone on more than 1,000 runs together. Dad was pushing his son when they were stopped a mile short of what they planned to be their final marathon in Boston.
Mike Garvin had hoped he and his daughter could join the Hoyt's team of disabled runners when they return next year.
"I contacted them via e-mail and somebody got back to me," he explained. "They would love Ashley and I to join them, but Ashley had to be 18."
So, the Hoyts steered him toward Ainsley's Angels, which works with runs across the country. Through that organization, he and Ashley Garvin set a big date in DC this coming weekend -- the Marine Corp Marathon.
In the summer, the dad-and-daughter duo began training. So far, they've completed two races, including the City of Lakes 25K. Soon, a girl who loves the movement will cross the DC finish line before the father who loves getting out and active with his oldest child.