5K Ambassador Spotlight: Derek and Tyler James

Derek and Tyler celebrating a post-race finish

As we gear up for the 11th Annual Isabella Santos Foundation 5K/10K for Kids Cancer this Saturday, we tapped one of our media ambassadors for some race-day tips.

Derek James, WCCB News Rising Co-Host/Staff Meteorologist, and his son Tyler will be among our ISF 5K race participants. An avid runner growing up, Derek got back into running races when Tyler was 7 and could run with him. They have run six races together and share these words of advice:

How did you get Tyler involved in running?

He saw me coach Let Me Run when he was 6 and so wanted to be on our team. He wasn’t old enough then but now I’m coaching a new team at Matthews Elementary now that he’s old enough to join.


Where do you enjoy running for fun?

Squirrel Lake Park is very close to our house so that’s where we typically go. It offers access to the Four Mile Creek Greenway which is a great place to run.


What is your most memorable race?

Tough to choose, but probably the Steve Smith Family Foundation Lace Up Son 5K. This was Tyler’s first race and it was in our town (Matthews). Tyler finished 1st in the 7 & under division and got his award from Steve Smith Sr. I ran my first Savage Race last year and that was an incredible experience as it was my first obstacle race.


What advice do you have for those who haven’t run before and are doing their first race at the ISF 5K/10K?

Derek: Find your perfect 5K race pace. Often on a first race you come out too fast and end up struggling somewhere near the 2-mile mark.

Tyler: Run slower at the start and then pick it up in the middle.


What do you both enjoy most about running together?

Derek: I love running with Tyler because it’s simple. Put on your shoes and go. Training alongside Tyler is more fun and we get to catch up and discuss anything on our minds.

Tyler: I enjoy running with dad because it’s a really good workout and it’s good to have together time and I love the training.


Do you have a favorite pre-race snack or meal?

Derek: Pre-race just a sports bar or a piece of toast, a little water and coffee.

Tyler:  I love a pre-race pasta and noodles dinner.


What’s your favorite warmup or stretch to do before run?

We like dynamic stretches leg swings and mountain climbers.


Running gear you couldn’t live without?

My Garmin for keeping pace.

Derek and Tyler with WCCB News@10 Anchor, Morgan Fogarty


If you could pick a song to push you through a tough part of a run, what would it be?

Derek: Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream”

Tyler: “I Love You I Need You” by Slushie


What are you most looking forward to at the ISF 5K/10K for Kids Cancer?

Derek: Getting outside on a beautiful morning and running a new course. Seeing other young people run in an effort to help other kids.

Tyler: I like that by running this race we get to help kids who have cancer and have fun while doing it.