Tyler Glenn fidgeted in his seat, unable to contain his excitement.
"I'm going to win the race," he said, earnestly, as he and his family waited for the rest of the participants to register.
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The Kids Fun Run was just one of three events, including the 1-Mile run and the 5K, held Saturday at Mitchel Athletic Complex as an introduction to today's Long Island Marathon: Festival of Races. With Ronald McDonald leading the pre-race stretching and New York Islanders mascot, "Sparky The Dragon," doling out hugs and high-fives, the boisterous bunch was impervious to the cool breeze that whipped around the track.
Thomas Glenn tried to explain the goal was simply to have fun, but his 7-year-old son could think of nothing else but crossing the finish line, paces ahead of the others.
After just a few minutes with the family from Levittown, it became obvious just how deep those competitive genes run. Thomas, a two-time Ironman finisher, is preparing for Sunday's 8 a.m. Long Island marathon, which begins on Charles Lindbergh Blvd. in Uniondale and ends inside Eisenhower Park. His brother plans to run in the half-marathon and their father will run in the 10K.
Thomas' racing interest piqued in 2006 after, "on a whim," he competed in the half-marathon. And after six years of marathons, the 34-year-old physical education teacher is planning to race from Wantagh to the Montauk Light House -- a 102.3-mile journey -- in June to raise money for The John Theissen Children's Foundation.
And his kids already share his enthusiasm.
"I could run it again," said a winded Tyler, after crossing the finish line first in his age group.
His younger sister, 2 -year-old Kylie, won the "Diaper Dash" last year -- "She was determined," Thomas' pregnant wife, Kelly, said -- and, with the help of a sizable head-start Saturday, charged through the finish line well ahead of the friendly competition.
Other Kids Fun Run participants included 3-year-old Jacob Lukose and his 10-month-old sister, Celine, who, along with their cousins, Alissa Cyriac, 4, and Alina Chacko, 3, wore white and purple "Team Joy" shirts, in honor of their grandfather Joy who passed away in December.
"We're doing this for him," Tommy Lukose said of his late father, hours after completing the 5K.
He was just one of 15 or 20 family members and friends honoring Joy, a Valley Stream resident. Tommy said his brother, Mathew, plans to run today's half-marathon and his friend Luke Tharathattel, of Farmingville, will compete in the 10K.
Hours earlier, 6-year-old Hana Lima and her father, Louis, 39, shared a touching moment, completing their first 1-Mile Run together in 10:05.
"She likes to go see me run, so we've been training together," Louis said with a smile.