Motivation Monday with Toby

When you’re 12, you’re expected to be active. Whether playing with your friends outside, or swimming in the summer, or in PE class at school, you’re rarely still. Just imagine, then, that at the beginning of your summer break, you fall while hiking, fracture your skull and are told you can’t do anything for months. How do you come back from that? If you’re Tobias Barton, the idea of getting back into physical fitness sounds like a horrible idea, totally unappealing. Unless there’s chocolate involved.

Toby is a huge chocoholic. He’d do just about anything for chocolate, including train for eight weeks through the winter to run a 5k. According to Toby: “I heard about a race with hot chocolate, and chocolate fondue and stuff, and I thought: ‘Hmmmmmmm, sounds like the prize I want!’”

Last summer, Toby and his family went on a road trip for their family vacation. On the second day of the trip, they were hiking in the mountains, “it was early summer, so there was still a bit of snow in the high mountains, and I came across some and fell. I slid down the mountain about 300 feet and then my mom caught me.” Toby ended up fracturing his skull in four places, and after several nights in the hospital, he was placed on 6 weeks of “couch arrest.” Great way to start your summer vacation, right? Said Toby: “It was really hard to keep myself from biking, swimming and running and stuff. It’s summer, so I’m supposed to be exercising and running around and having fun, and I was on couch arrest.”

After the initial six weeks, he was still limited in his activities, to avoid anything that could jar his skull. That meant no PE when school started. According to Toby’s mom: “It was kind of difficult for [him] to think about starting to exercise again, after being away from it for so long. He was really worried about how to ramp up and get back into it after a break that long. We were talking about how we could build our muscles up after this long period, and he just wasn’t enthusiastic. Nothing sounded good to him. It was the middle of winter, so he couldn’t get in the pool; that’s his favorite sport. What can we do in December to start building our stamina up for the summer?”

That’s where the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k came along. Family friends had run the race before, and with Toby’s restrictions ending eight weeks before race day, he and his dad decided to try training for the 5k together. They ran every other day together through the winter, until race day on January 8th. Even a race day filled with wind and rain couldn’t stop Toby from running for chocolate! Toby and his dad crossed the finish line together, and were rewarded with the post-race hot chocolate and fondue! Toby’s favorite part? “The rice krispie treats that were half dipped in hot chocolate, half dipped in fondue.”


Toby is now recovered from his injury, and looking forward to a summer filled with swimming, his favorite physical activity. But, his time training for the race has made him eager to tackle longer races. He’s already signed up for his next 5k, and he’s looking forward to running a 10k soon. He and his father plan to run the 15k next year, while his mother and younger brother run the 5k together. We’re so glad Toby’s love of chocolate helped get him moving again after a difficult recovery, and we can’t wait to have him running for chocolate with us again in 2018!