Local Runner Hopes to Pass Love of Obsessively Recording and Tracking Data Along to Children



For Richard Marin, running is more than a way to keep fit and healthy—it's also a chance to model positive behavior for his two young children.

"As a dad, I know my kids look up to me," said Marin, 31, a father to Tommy, 4, and Natasha, 5 months, "and I know they pay attention more to what grown-ups do than to what we say."

That's why, Marin said, he "leads by example" to impart to his children the importance of compulsively recording the details of every run via a variety of gadgets and apps, using every conceivable metric, and then sorting and charting the data over time. 

"(As a nation) we're getting less and less healthy, and more and more obese," he said. "I want my kids to buck those trends. I want them to grow up in a home where a pathological need to measure and track the data of your workouts is the norm."

I want my kids to grow up in a home where a pathological need to measure and track the data of your workouts is the norm.
— Richard Marin

On a recent afternoon in his comfortable suburban home, Marin, a software engineer and veteran of five marathons, showed a reporter what he meant by that.

"See, Daddy is uploading his workout," he said as he pecked away at a laptop computer while balancing 5-month-old Natasha on one knee. "Can you say 'Garmin Connect'?"

As he told his daughter about heart-rate zones, course segments, and the difference between Fitbit Activity Minutes and Garmin Intensity Minutes, Marin noticed his son enter the room.

"Hey, buddy, what's up?" he said. "We're just about to examine the elevation profile of my runs so far this week and see how they compare to the same period of time last year, graphed against my weight and average pace, if you want to join us."

Tommy, on his way outside to play, did not.

"He loves this stuff," said Marin, laughing. "As soon as he was old enough to walk, Tommy had his own Fitbit, smart socks, and Strava account."

As Natasha chewed on a heart-rate monitor chest strap, Marin reached down to plug one of his several GPS watches into a wall outlet.

"Too many kids miss out on this," he said. "And that's a shame."