DAYTON, Ohio — On April 7, hundreds of runners will lace up their trainers for the 57th Xenia Marathon.

It was first hosted in 1967 and is one of the oldest and longest-running marathons in the state of Ohio.

While it certainly boasts some impressive run times, there are a lot of reasons why this race is extra special.

What You Need To Know

  • Xenia Marathon on April 7 will draw hundreds of runners

  • The race is one of the oldest in Ohio and is a Boston qualifier

  • It will be the 6th time Al Eder and his daughter Alicia have participated

  • The race is all-inclusive.

Year after year, it’s fueled a unique bond between one father and daughter team.

“I got my first running stroller in 1999,” said Al Eder as he pushed his daughter Alicia Eder during a warm-up walk.

The father-daughter duo go just about everywhere.

“We go out for two- to three-hour training runs. This will be our 6th Xenia Marathon we’ll be doing together. It’s fun. I like hanging with her,” Eder said.

At 72 and 35, they are joined at the hip.

“She is just the most delightful thing in the world. It’s just fun being around her. She’s like the center-point of our family. Alicia is kind of like the glue of the family. We always say we’re very blessed to have Alicia in our lives,” he said.

Alicia has lived with a seizure disorder since she was a baby and is non-verbal.

However, their running journey speaks volumes about love.

“Knowing Alicia’s condition, I wanted to be around a long time to take care of her,” Eder said.

Not only does this father-daughter team have a really incredible story, turns out they’re actually pretty fast.

“You’re pushing 170-pounds or so around. Our best marathon together was like a 4-hour-45. I think that’s like an 11-minute mile. We’ve done it so long, it’s just second nature to us,” Eder said.

The Xenia Marathon is a way to let their training shine and for years it’s been opening a lot of different doors for the entire running community.

“Our race is a Boston qualifier. It’s flat and fast so if you are looking to enter a time in for the Boston Marathon, this is one of the cheapest races you can do it at,” said Xenia Marathon Co-Director Rebekah Taylor.

The race is hosted by Ohio River Road Runners, one of the oldest and largest clubs in the country.

The group is 100% volunteer and a nonprofit.

“The race is all-inclusive. We have a wheelchair division, we have several blind runners that are running with guides this year,” Taylor said.

With a month left to go, the Eder team is set.

“I mostly do ultra runs, I do 100-mile runs and all kind of crazy things. But pushing her in the marathon is really one of the favorite things I do as a runner. Not only because we do it together; it just feels like a good accomplishment,” Al Eder said.

Along with marathons, Al and Alicia have competed in many half marathons together and with the family’s other daughters.

When they aren’t running,  you’ll find them cheering at the University of Dayton’s sports games.

Registration for the Xenia Marathon, the Half and 10K is open through April 6.

All three races start at the Xenia YMCA.