POIPU — K.J. Daubert is 4 years old but, already, he’s following in the footsteps of his father and his grandmother.
“He runs conservatively, so he’s got a marathon mind-frame,” dad Nikolaus Daubert said. “He started slow and ended slow, but that’s slow and steady.”
“He said, ‘Daddy, this is how fast I want to go,’” Nik said Saturday as he walked back and forth, not long after the Keiki Run, where K.J. earned a medal and treats.
Running is in the Daubert genes, and you can trace those roots to the Kauai Marathon.
Kauai’s Mary Daubert, Nik’s mom, began running years ago when she entered the Kauai half marathon. She walked the first two years, then said: “You know what? I’d like to go a little faster. Let me try running it. And so from 2011 to last year I ran it.”
Nik, too, started running when the Kauai Marathon was launched in 2009 and he was 30 years old. He wanted to regain some lost fitness.
It came to mean much more to the 1997 Kauai High School graduate.
“I like this running thing,” he thought.
“I just progressed from there,” he said Saturday.
He and his mom ran the Honolulu Marathon, her first, together in 2013. Today he’ll be running his seventh Kauai Marathon. It will be part of his training for a 100-miler in California later this year.
Today, he and friend Christopher Chan, who has run every Kauai Marathon, will be taking on the 26.2-mile course together. No hurry. No pushing the pace in pursuit of a record time.
This is about taking four or five hours, cruising along and enjoying the beauty of the course and spirit of the run.
“My perspective has changed over the years,” Nik said.
Running, he said, is central to his life. Sure, he’s completed some triathlons, but he’s runner at heart. He often heads out for late-night training runs after putting the kids to bed at his Sierra Drive home on Oahu.
“I always come back to running,” he said.
Mom Mary Daubert is walking the 13.1-mile half today despite spraining her ankle in the Koloa Days Plantation 10K run in July.
“I want to keep the streak going,” she said.
Mary said she’s fine with walking because it’s about finishing what you start.
“Things happen, so you just have to adapt to the change and move forward,” she said.
Mary praises her son’s drive, and loves it that they share a passion for the same sport.
She said it’s wonderful that she and her son can talk about running, the joys and pains, and understand each other.
”I really admire his sticktuitiveness,” she said. “He makes a plan and he just goes for it.”
Nik said his mom has influenced him in not only running, but his commitment to strength training and overall health.
He listens to her advice.
“I just turned 40. You want to stay in the game, you have to put effort into strength, too. She taught me that,” he said.
K.J., short for Kenneth Jacobs after his two grandfathers, isn’t the youngest Daubert runner.
There’s 2-year-old Audrey, too, already tearing on the go and not looking back.
“She loves running. She runs around the house. Can’t stop her,” Nik said, smiling. “She’s always taking spills. I can’t stop her. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I don’t want to stop her. I feel like next year she’ll be in the race and probably do pretty well.”
No doubt, dad and grandma will be there to watch, cheer — and run races of their own.
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.