Toward the end of a two-hour run recently, Haugh said, he stopped to rest. His companion would have none of it.

"Mo'," Jeremiah said, clutching his limp flags.

His father wiped his brow.

"Mo'."

Haugh sighed.

"Alright," he said. "I guess we're going farther today."

Running uphill isn't easy. Try doing it while shoving a 50-pound weight.

"Pushing 'Miah, in his runner, up our driveway is a struggle for me," his mother said.

Haugh soldiers on.

"My arms get tired first," he said. "It's an awkward position. And if Jeremiah leans to one side, to look at something, he pulls the jogger to the right or the left."

On the steepest hills, Haugh hunkers down to push. Those times, Jeremiah turns — and sees no one.

"Da-Dah?"

"Still here," his father replies.

The Haughs have been turned away from a number of races that ban strollers for safety reasons. Baltimore allows them, but only for special needs entrants.

The marathon will be the longest race they've done in tandem. They completed several 5Ks, as well as a half-marathon in Georgia in 2007. Haugh was preparing to leave for the Middle East at the time.

During the race, he said, "I began talking with a guy who'd served in Iraq. It was a hot day, so I told him I had to stop to remove a layer of clothes. Instead, he offered to push Jeremiah for half a mile while I took off a shirt and stuff."

Reactions from other runners run the gamut, he said — everything from "Good luck" to "Love your flags!" One weary runner muttered, "I'm getting passed by a guy with a baby jogger."

"I know that when they see us, people wonder, 'Why is he running with that big kid?' because Jeremiah looks somewhat normal," Haugh said. "Usually, I'll make a joke, like, 'We're going to switch halfway through the race and he's going to push me.' "

He has no plans to stop.

"As long as Jeremiah enjoys it, I'll run with him," he said.

"I know I'm not breaking new ground. Others have done this, and done it better, than I. But it's a chance for my kid to do something athletic that he otherwise would be unable to do."

mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

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