Please allow me to introduce you all to my brother-in-law Jason. You can’t miss him because he’s tall — very tall, at 6′ 7″. He’s my husband’s youngest brother — Jason affectionately calls Joe, who is 6′ 4″ “little brother” — and he’s a loving and generous soul. And hilarious, like Joe and his entire family.

He also is a runner. I’ve known this for a long while now, though he’ll tell you it’s only this year, after finishing many 5Ks all across Michigan, when he’s felt like a true runner.

Nicole and Jason at the 2015 Resolution Run in Traverse City.

Nicole and Jason at the 2015 Resolution Run in Traverse City.

I think many of us can relate to this. We put one foot in front of the other, we log miles and graduate to new running shoes, maybe even cross several finish lines…and yet, we may not feel “official,” like we need to do more or look a certain way before we can call ourselves runners.

We’re all on our own journeys.

Jason and his dad Mick, my beloved father-in-law, at the 2014 Farmland 5K in Traverse City. Mick came out to cheer on his kids and grandkids at as many races as he could.

Jason and his dad Mick, my beloved father-in-law, at the 2014 Farmland 5K in Traverse City. Mick came out to cheer on his kids and grandkids at as many races as possible. I’ve always loved this photo…

I do believe we’re runners the moment we begin to run, no matter the stops and starts along the way. I also know, from my own experience and having talked with so many other runners, that it sometimes takes a certain milestone reached or moment in our health journeys when it just feels like we can really say, “I am a runner.”

Some of you have either met Jason — he and his girlfriend Nicole often are at local races with our family — or have read about him here on MRG in the past. He’s been a huge supporter of Michigan Runner Girl, wearing MRG gear to events and also joining the MRG Race Team at this year’s Farmland 5K.

All together for this year's Turkey Trot.

All together for this year’s Turkey Trot.

I wanted to officially introduce him here because of the BIG year he’s had. He shared thoughts about it this week on Facebook, and with his permission, I am sharing his post here:

I have never attempted a New Year’s resolution before. On Saturday I accomplished my 2015 resolution of running one 5k race a month. Starting in the snow on January 1st and ending at the Farmland 5k December 5th. I ended up running 17 total for the year. Highlights – New Year’s day in the snow. February 15th running in -15 degree cold. Running with my sister Micki dressed as super heroes. Running with my best old friend and Ironman Triathlete James Devere Birch. My first Cherry Festival race. Running the Vineyard to Bay 5k alone while my dad was in the hospital in one of my dad’s favorite towns, Suttons Bay. Running the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day. Running with my brother Joe 5 times this fall and winter. My 3rd Turkey Trot (where I ran my first 5k in 2013, thanks to encouragement from my sister in law Heather.) Running with my niece and nephews. Thankfully all my race entries are paid for by the company I work for. Thank you Hagerty Classic Cars for dishing out over $600 in entry fees. I had lots of encouragement from friends and family, but no one encouraged me as much as my running buddy and girlfriend Nicole. Thanks for pushing me to train on days I wanted to be lazy. Nicole started 11 of the races with me, and usually finished before me and took most of the pictures. Thanks Nicole!! I love you ????????.
I am not sure if I am going to run as much in 2016 , but in 2015 I consider myself a runner.

Jason and Nicole took part in the Labor Day Bridge Run this year.

Jason and Nicole took part in the Labor Day Bridge Run this year.

Nicole and Jason at the Tulip Time 5K in Holland earlier this year.

Nicole and Jason at the Tulip Time 5K in Holland earlier this year.

Jason and his sister Micki at this spring's BIG Little Hero Race at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

Jason and his sister Micki at this spring’s BIG Little Hero Race at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

Thank you for inspiring me, Jason. Keep running – I am looking forward to lots of races together in 2016!

Who else has had a big running year? 

When did you first call yourself a runner?

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