The Gafney family had a special year in 2019. Doug Gafney’s son, Nathan, had just completed his first high school cross country season. Doug’s younger sister, Kati—who lives in Nicaragua—had planned a Christmas visit up to Tennessee for the first time in years.
When Doug found out that Kati was coming for the holidays, he knew that a family race would be a great activity to do together. He signed them all up for the Frostbite 5K/10K, hosted by their local Sumner County YMCA. Doug was prepared for the chill that comes with the race. “I’ve always enjoyed running the Frostbite—even when it was bitter cold on New Year’s Day!”
Athleticism runs in the Gafney family, Doug shares. “All of my siblings are athletes—swimming, running, biking, equestrian—but my younger sister Kati has taken it to a whole other level. She routinely competes in rigorous ultra-marathon trail races up and down the volcanoes of Central America—for fun!” Because they live so far apart, the family uses a running app and group texting to follow each other’s accomplishments and keep one another motivated.
Doug and his wife used to run all the time when they were in the Army, he says. The couple is glad that they’ve passed it along to their kids. “Nathan only recently started running,” Doug says. “He enjoys the fitness and competition of running—plus he knows that he can run circles around me!”
On the day of the Frostbite, Doug got to watch his sister and son cross the finish line, which he describes as a great feeling. “That’s only because I ran the 5K and they ran the 10K!” The best part, Doug says, was being able to watch Nathan run with his Aunt Kati, “someone he’s looked up to because of her running success.”
After the race, the Gafney family staked their claim on the podium. Kati came in second in the 10K, Nathan took first for his age group, and Doug took third. “I was definitely not running to get on the podium,” Doug recalls. “I was just running for fun and hopefully to see an improvement in my time. It was the first 10K for my son, so I was thrilled that he did so well!”