David and Victoria Beach pose for a photo after they ran the inaugural half marathon as part of the Wheatlake Festival of Races in 2015.
Victoria Beach and her father, David, ran the inaugural half marathon as part of the Wheatlake Festival of Races in 2015. The two plan to run the race every year to stay in shape. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Running a half marathon is no easy task, but one father-daughter duo plans to run a certain 13.1-mile race every year.

David Beach and his daughter, Victoria, ran the inaugural half marathon at the Spectrum Health Wheatlake Festival of Races in 2015 in Big Rapids, Michigan. They enjoyed the race so much, the pair set a goal of making an annual appearance at the event.

“The course was our favorite part,” said David, 57. “It was a great, scenic and fast course. Now we’ve chosen to make this an annual event that we always do together. We feel if we can run at least one half marathon together each year, we will always stay in shape.”

David and Victoria were among the first half-marathon runners registered for this year’s Wheatlake Festival of Races.

The course starts in Reed City near the Reed City Depot and finishes behind Big Rapids Middle School. Last year was the first year the half marathon was added to the event, which also includes a 5K run, wellness walk and kids dash.

As a former Spectrum Health employee, David heard about the 2015 race at work.

Victoria, 22, who attends college in Minnesota, was interested in running the half marathon. It would be her first long race and, as a college tennis player, she didn’t have much time to compete in past runs.

David, who has one marathon, a number of 25Ks and two half marathons under his belt, saw a great father-daughter bonding opportunity.

“I had not run any long races for a few years and I thought this would get me back into it,” David said. “It would be more fun to have company, and I would get in better shape and get to spend time with Victoria.”

The pair trained separately, as they were in different locations. David, who now works in Springfield, Illinois, said training takes hard work and dedication, no matter where you are.

“It is a matter of discipline,” David said. “The key for me is getting long runs in on weekends. If you just do a few miles and build up to some long runs on the weekends you can finish. It is a great motivator to stay in shape.”

In 2015, Victoria finished the half marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 17 seconds, while David finished in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 50 seconds. Though David is not interested in competing with his daughter, he does aspire to beat a former coworker.

“With enough time to train and with Rick Green getting older every year, my long-term goal is to beat his time,” David said.

Learn more or register for the Wheatlake Festival of Races, scheduled for May 21.