Brain Champions Melodie and Howie Griffin

Melodie: Age 39

Howie: Age 10

Running Buddies

Not many mothers and young sons are exercise partners which is why you need to meet Melodie and Howie Griffin. When it comes to exercise and running, these two are in a mutual admiration society of their own. Each inspires the other to be active and move more.

The Story Begins with Melodie

As a mother of two, Melodie knows running is her happy place. It’s the time of day when she ignores emails, cell phone calls and takes advantage of the alone time to focus on herself. She’s convinced her “selfish time” makes her a better mother, wife, employee and marathon runner. In 2017, she completed 3 marathons, including: The Space Coast Marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. So how is it possible this tip-top shape runner of ten years is athletically inspired by her young son?

And Along Runs Howie

Howie’s captivated by his mom’s running. “It’s crazy how she trains for marathons,” he says. So, on a beach vacation with his family, at the tender age of six, Howie decided to run alongside his mom for a mile stretch. Later his mom tagged along with him as he ran two and a half miles to get a brownie sundae ice cream, a reward he generously split with his sister. Now the rewards are more internally motivated. Howie loves being active and being outside. He loves sharing this hobby with his mom and praises her in the way only a kid can, “I don’t have a lot of friends whose mothers run marathons!”

At the beginning, Howie mostly ran side-by-side with his mom. Melodie was grateful for the bonding time. She’s convinced it’s easier for Howie to converse with her while running when their gaze is turned outward rather than toward one another. During their runs together, Howie opens up to his mom, sharing thoughts and stories that he never would have shared if they were sitting side by side. Melodie says by running together, “I’ve learned about his hopes and dreams, about his fears, about his friends, and so much more.”

Catching the Running Bug

It wasn’t long before they were running 5ks together. Howie’s first of many 5k runs was at Lakefront in his home town of St. Cloud. Yet, his favorite is the Reindeer Run at Sea World where every runner – adult and child – get bells tied to their shoes. Howie was just seven years old when he ran the Reindeer Run for the first time. Since those early days, Howie has not stopped pounding the pavement and is even ramping up his efforts. Howie’s next goal is to run a 10k and he is training hard to get there. Every day he participates in the early morning running club at school.

The exercise bug bit Howie pretty hard. He asked his parents for a Garmin (a wearable device that records a person’s daily physical activity, together with other data relating to fitness or health). His parents, unsure of how much he would use the Garmin, made him pay for it with his own money. To this day, Howie wears the Garmin everywhere and uses it in a friendly competition with his mom to compare their number of daily steps.

A Joint Effort

Watching Howie gain confidence and become an accomplished runner at a young age has altered Melodie’s position on running alone. After ten years of running solo, Melodie now prefers to have Howie run with her over running by herself. There’s no doubt about it, what Melodie and Howie do best is inspire one another to be their best athletic selves.

A Brain up Lesson from the Griffin Family

Melodie says, “As a family, we try to be active whenever we can. We don’t call it exercise because it really isn’t. We move together. We go swimming. We go for bicycle rides or sometimes it is just a walk in the neighborhood. Other times it is an impromptu game in the backyard. Whatever it is, as long as we’re moving and having fun, it’s a bonus for us.”