We’ll never tire of reading stories about warrior moms and dads. Sophie Power breastfed her baby while she was running a more than 100-mile marathon; Jamie Sloan completed a triathlon while pumping breast milk and managed to break a personal record; and Robby Ketchell crossed the New York City marathon while cradling his baby to raise awareness for Down syndrome.
Add Chad Kempel’s name to the list. The California dad of seven has been running marathons with his quintuplets—Lincoln, Noelle, Grayson, Preston and Gabriella—in a stroller in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. His inspiration comes from his wife Amy’s pregnancy with their quintuplets.
“A lot of people counted the babies out from the beginning and basically said ‘it’s not going to work.’ Amy carried them 27 weeks 3 days and they’re doing so good today,” he recounts on Facebook.
During the February Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, the dad missed setting the record by just about 45 minutes, KTVU reports. While he missed his goal, it didn’t deter the dad. As opposed to stopping the race when he reached the 26.2 marker, he pushed himself to run an extra 1.1 miles, totaling 27.3 miles for the day—a special number indeed.
“To pay homage to Amy for what she endured and what she does daily, I wanted to run 27.3 miles with the babies...We’re raising the kids with the mentality that anything is possible. I hope they look back on stuff like this and smash their own goals,” he says.
He gave it another go a month later at the Oakland Running Festival. This time he fell short of breaking the record by less than five minutes, according to KTVU. “I’m bummed,’’ says Kempel. “It hurts to miss it by so close because that makes me think I’ve got to do it again. But at the same time, I don’t want to.”
Despite just missing the record, the Oakland race was a special moment for Kempel and his family. The day marked one year since he and his family were all home together following the quintuplets birth and NICU stay.
“One year ago today Noelle and Preston were the last two of the babies to leave the NICU after 73 days. It’s been a wild year,” he says on Facebook. “It was fun to finish it up attempting this record again. Missed it by 4 minutes and 29 seconds. Of course I’m bummed, but making this memory today with the entire family is what I live for.”
Record-breaking or not, Kempel is one fierce dad.