“I never expected to push anyone in a marathon,” Chad Kempel, 37, told Runner’s World. “But when I thought about what the babies went through in the past year—all those feeding and breathing tubes—that gave me the strength to push through to the finish… Anything is possible.”
On March 24, the California dad ran the Oakland Marathon with his kids, attempting for the second time to break a Guinness World Record in the “man pushes quintuplets in stroller in 26.2-mile marathon” category, which Kempel actually paid to have created. Guinness said he could be the record-holder if he ran the race in under four hours and 45 minutes.
While he fell short by just four minutes (he completed the marathon in 4:49:29), it was a marked improvement from his first try at the Surf City Marathon in February when he finished in five hours and 31 minutes.
“The kids did good at the last marathon, but this time they did even better,” Kempel explained to KTVU, adding that his brother, Steven, biked alongside him to feed the quintuplets handfuls of Cheerios and provide diaper-changing assistance if necessary.
Lincoln, Noelle, Grayson, Preston, and Gabriella were born prematurely on January 11, 2018, after Kempel’s wife Amy endured a long and difficult pregnancy. The quintuplets were then kept in the neonatal intensive care unit for 73 days before they could go home.
Kempel told KTVU that the marathon “was a challenge… but it was only a number of hours and nothing compared to what Amy has endured carrying and caring for all the kids.”
And the dad of five isn’t the only baby-toting marathon runner. Calum Neff currently holds the world record for finishing a 26.2-mile race while pushing a stroller with a time of 2:31.