Dad on the Run
For many dads, the demands of multiple kids and full-time work leave room for little else. Previously beloved hobbies take a back seat, as do social outings with mates; it’s all about patting out spot fires and preventing the bucket from overflowing.
Not Steve Brennan. The 50-year-old British ex-pat’s daily output is exhausting even to think about. Jobs as a senior meter reader, landscaper and an egg farmer fill around “14 hours a day, five-to-six days a week”.
Then there’s pigs and chooks and maintenance on the Flowerdale (one hour north of Melbourne) hobby farm on which he and his wife Lareesa, and three children – Magenta 12, Flynn 7, Silas 5 – live.
And he runs. Every day. An average of 80 kilometres per week, many of those in the hills.
When he has a spare minute, he coaches runners, too.
With his “fingers in a lot of pies,” as denoted on his Strava profile, time management, persistence and compromise are of the essence. “I’m motivated by being the best I can, and providing the best I can, for the family,” Brennan says. “During the week Lareesa takes the brunt of the workload with our children. This is the choice we made: for me to work and she to stay at home and be a great mum to our children.”
Analogies of fine wine apply to Brennan the runner, who, despite entering his sixth decade, keeps getting quicker. After showing considerable promise as a teenager and into early 20s, injury forced him into early retirement.
In his late thirties he started running regularly again, but found he was getting injured on the roads so he switched to parkland and trails and his body responded favourably. Some success in trail races culminated in the World Masters Mountain Championships in Italy in August – which was made possible by a collective of running mates who raised funds through gofundme.com – in which he finished 34th in the 50-54 age category. In true form, Brennan says he “left nothing on the mountain”.
Of all his hats, however, it’s his dad one that he wears most proudly. “It’s an immense pleasure and experience to be a dad. On the weekends I get the kids involved with the animals, collecting the eggs, feeding them. It’s a different life to the city, with more space for the children; growing our own produce; a country school with only 33 children.”
Of all his hats, however, it’s his dad one that he wears most proudly.
It’s an idyllic, fuss-free lifestyle, and one that the Brennan clan loves. “We are not a wealthy family financially but we are trying our best to ensure our children have lots of fun experiences, in a loving and supportive environment,” he says.