Run, Baby, Run

Bode Boeckman may be the youngest person taking part in training for the NYC Marathon. At just five months old, he’s been present for every mile his mom covers as she prepares for the big day.

“I agreed to run the marathon when I was just one or two months post-partum,” said Molly Waitz, 27, of Cutchogue, NY. “I think I may have been sleep-deprived,” she joked.

But Waitz, who trains with her son in a jogging stroller on trails along the north fork of Long Island, knows that when it comes to babies, sleep is no joking matter. She was invited to run the marathon by her hometown friend, Carolynne Harvey, a sleep trainer and founder of Dream Baby Sleep, which is sponsoring her run for First Candle. Harvey has been her go-to resource on all things sleep-related since Waitz gave birth to Bode.

Harvey taught Waitz how to help Bode distinguish night from day, how to help him sleep through the night, and, most importantly, how to put him to sleep safely to prevent SIDS.

“She gave me a lot of constructive criticism,” said Waitz. “She would suggest different things I could do better for myself and the baby. And then she’d jump ahead to help me understand what I needed to know as he gets older to be proactive.”

While Waitz has no personal connection to SIDS, she will be running with the name of a hometown child – Claire Lincoln – written across her bib. Claire died of Sudden Unexpected Death In Childhood (SUDC), another type of sleep-related infant mortality. First Candle is dedicated to reducing childhood and infant mortality by educating families and caregivers and supporting research.

Waitz said it’s important for parents to be able to talk about these and other difficult issues related to parenting, so they are better able to prevent them.

“People only talk about the positive parts of parenting,” she said, “the 2 by 2-inch Instagram pictures. All people see is how great your life is. We need to start to focus on life outside that square. No one talks about post-partum depression, SIDS, choking hazards, the things that can happen to a child. But it’s really important, I think. Because the more you talk about these things, the more preventable they will be as people gain more knowledge.”

There’s one thing Waitz still hasn’t figured out, though: how to get through the marathon without stopping to breastfeed her baby. Bode may be doing all of her training runs with her, but he won’t be on the course on race day. Of course, there’s also a benefit to that, she said: “If I do all the training with a stroller, once I ditch the stroller the actual marathon will be a breeze.”

You can donate on Molly’s fundraising page to help her reach her fundraising goal.