When Mieka and Evan Pratt cross the finish line of the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon on April 27th, one thing is for sure, they will do it together.
The couple, both 2018 Harding graduates, is training together for a half marathon in Nashville. They share a passion for helping others, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital allows them to do just that.
“I have always wanted to run for something that has a good cause attached to it, and I really like what St. Jude stands for- to end cancer and help families as their kids are dealing with cancer and as the family is dealing with it; they seek to support them” Mieka said.
Training for the half marathon has given the Pratts, married in November 2018, an opportunity to grow and spend time with each other. The couple said that running has been a key element in their relationships since the beginning.
“Before we were even dating, we were running together so it’s kind of been something that’s been part of our relationship since the beginning,” Mieka said.
The couple also enjoys hiking and weight lifting as cross training methods. Evan Pratt said running is a great way for both of them to relieve stress and get more energy and altogether helping them emotionally, physically and spiritually.
“Our schedules are kind of crazy some days and running helps us to have time set aside, to spend with each other and also helps us keep each other accountable and keep going. Sometimes I just want to give up, but it’s nice to know that Evan is next to me because having somebody reminds me that I can keep going,” Mieka said.
In April 2018, the Pratts ran a 5k together. Mieka said she was feeling sick that day. She did not think that she could get through the race, but Evan stayed by her side and encouraged her.
“He stuck with me the whole time; he easily could have gone ahead and passed me, but he decided to stick with me the whole time,” Mieka said “That helped me to keep going because I really didn’t want to keep running.”
The Pratts agreed that training together has been beneficial to their marriage, growing them as a couple and as individuals. They have learned to work together and cooperate.
Counselor Crystal Bradshawexplains that tossing a medicine ball to each other, lifting weights in time together or matching your running pace with each other is called nonverbal matching. She said this helps people feel emotionally connected with their partner because doing these activities requires a couple to create a context in which they must be present with each other mentally to coordinate the necessary moves.
“We have to match each other’s running tempos because it’s something we want to do to together. We have to monitor and adjust constantly to make sure we’re on the same pace,” Evan said. “I think that can be a metaphor for other parts of life as well – constantly paying attention to the person next to you, doing what you can to find a way to cooperate so you can have something good going on.”