Chad Kempel is a doting dad of seven little sweethearts, including quintuplets (that’s five!). On their first birthday, he decided to do something ‘outrageous’ to not only commemorate the birth of their babies but to honour his wife, Amy.
He signed up for a marathon, a grueling 26.2-mile run (that’s 42 kilometers to us Australians but, let’s keep it in miles for this story).
However, he didn’t just enter himself into the marathon. He entered his five toddlers too. He would be pushing them in a five-person customised pram from the start line to the finish.
But rather than collapse at the finish line like any normal human would do, he just kept on running! Wait until you hear why!!
Five little heartbeats
But first, let’s rewind to a time before the quintuplets were born. Amy and Chad had just had an ultrasound revealing not one, but FIVE babies. As shocked as they were, they were also filled with sadness.
While Chad and Amy already had two children at home, they had experienced several miscarriages and pregnancy losses along the way. Five years prior to the quintuplets, Amy had given birth to twins, born still at 23 weeks. They knew all too well the risks involved with multiple births, and, the couple feared history might repeat itself.
We thought we would be planning another funeral in our near future,” Chad tells Love What Matters.
“We held our twins as they died in our hands. So when other peoples’ jaws drop when they imagine struggles like feeding five newborns at once, the never-ending diaper changes, sleepless nights, or the inevitable financial struggles, I don’t share in that sentiment.
I would have signed up to never sleep again or for a lifetime of poverty if I could have only kept the twins we lost.”
However, the couple pushed the doubt away and focused on the positives, and, at 27 weeks and 3 days gestation, Amy gave birth to five beautiful babies – two girls and three boys.
On the quintuplet’s first birthday, Chad wanted to do something extra ‘outrageous’ to honour their amazing journey.
And so running, not to mention training for, a marathon it was!
26.2 miles and counting
On the day of the marathon, with his five toddlers in front of him, Chad pushed mile after mile. He completed the race in 4 hours and 42 minutes. However, he didn’t stop at the finish line.
Instead, he kept running another 1.1 miles, making it a total of 27.3 miles.
27.3 miles. To honour his wife who carried their miracles quintruplets for 27 weeks and 3 days.
In doing so, Chad not only made us collectively say, “NAAAWWWW,” but he also snagged a Guinness World Record for this mammoth pushing effort.
It was just a small, symbolic way for me to honor the true remarkable feat Amy had accomplished,” Chad tells Love What Matters.
“Women don’t always get the respect and admiration they deserve for the miracle of life they make possible, so I wanted to put myself through a small fraction of discomfort to show her, ‘I acknowledge your suffering and I am eternally grateful for these children you carried.’”
Now, let’s take a moment to check out the pram too. Five seats (possibly bike seats?), a massive shade cover for the top, and mega tyres!
There’s even a makeshift basket to hold water and various toddler snacks for the epic nearly-five-hour run.
My babies are the real prize
Chad went back to complete another race with the quintuplets three years later.
No longer toddlers, the kids, and the stroller weighed an epic 240 pounds, which he pushed for 2 hours and 19 minutes to complete a half marathon.
This time around Chad broke another Guinness World Record AND his wife joined him, biking the entire time by his side.
I know people see us and they’re in shock a parent with that many children has the time to train for something like this, and that anyone could push that kind of weight for that distance.
My hope is that as they have those thoughts and see my sign, they think to themselves, ‘If that dad can be out there doing that, then there’s no reason I can’t do that thing I’ve always dreamed of doing but thought would be too difficult.’
My hope is that when all seven children think back about the running events, they feel like they had an amazing and magical childhood because that is what I promised them before they were born. These records were just the beginning. I will continue fulfilling that promise by creating an extraordinary life for them and making amazing memories with them and their mother. This is my sole purpose in life.”
What an inspirational father!! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be outside, forcing my kids to run around the block with me.