Nick Willis Guest Blog – Travelling with kids

Most people think of running as an individual sport, and in most cases that is true. Not only are there the lonely long miles an athlete has to put in, but also the many days, weeks and even months spent away from home, living out of a suitcase. But I decided long ago that was not how I wanted to run. When my wife Sierra and I got married 6 and a half years ago, we decided that it was important both for our marriage and for my performances that we travel together – six months of the year alone on the road would be brutally tough. The other day my wife and I counted 87 separate trips we have been on together for my running.

Travel has taken on a whole new meaning these past 6 months with the arrival of our first child, Lachlan.  In his short life thus far, he’s accompanied us to Italy, UK, Croatia, New York, Oregon and now a trip across the pacific to visit our family in New Zealand. Everyone asks how we cope travelling with and infant. To be honest, it has been really fun. We unload our bags, car seat and stroller from the car at the airport drop-off, pop the car seat into the stroller, and make our way to the check in counter not much differently than we have for the previous 6 years. Sure, it’s quite a different experience on the plane. Most of our time is spent waiting for the seat belt light to turn off so we can pace the isles or squeeze into the tiny air plane bathrooms to change a dirty nappy. However, we’ve discovered that a big perk of having a baby in an airport is getting rushed through security and boarding lines. We leave our P&T Navigator at the gate, and it’s there for us as we get off the plane (or at the luggage carousel on international flights).


The most stressful experience thus far was at the Roma Termini train station this past September. We had just arrived in Rome after a race in Croatia, and were halfway through a two-part train journey to Spoleto, Italy.  We had just missed the first connecting train by mere seconds, so we had another hour to wait until the next.  After passing some time at a cafe snacking on some espresso and croissants (OJ, not coffee, for me!) and trying to find some Wifi, we casually made our way back to the platform 5 minutes before our train was scheduled to leave. Amidst our novice translation attempts, we had misread the location of our train platform had changed. Now, with only 5 minutes to our departure, we realized our train’s platform was still 800m away! Sierra put Lachie in his car seat, secured it in the stroller, and I grabbed our two 23kg bags, and we ran as best as we could, sweating in the 35 degree Italian sun.  Somehow we made it, and managed to get all our gear inside the train before the doors shut for good.


About the author:

.