San Diego native Mike Dyer began running at six and hasn’t stopped since. Now 50, he’s imparted that same love for fitness to his two sons, Nick, 14, and Sam, 12. The whole family enjoys trail running and taking bucket list runs in exotic locales like the Hoh Rain Forest in Seattle. “When we take vacations, we always find an exciting hike or a trail to go run. It’s an integral part of what we do together as a family,” he says. Mike is currently the Department Chair of Developmental Neurobiology at St. Jude.

What’s a typical week of running for you?

I try to run Monday through Friday, between three and four miles. While the boys are at soccer practice in the afternoon, I might try to squeeze it in. Over the weekend, my wife Victoria and I have to play it by ear, but we normally have the opportunity to take a longer run or throw in a trail run to keep it interesting.

Why do you love running?

Running is therapeutic and a great way to decompress at the end of a stressful day. I love being outside, too; the hot weather doesn’t bother me, and I’ll even run in the rain. Running is simple. When you travel, all you need are your shoes.

What motivates you?

I grew up in a house where everyone was active. When you see it, rather than being told what to do, it sets a better example. I really love running. That’s the best thing I can hope for with my kids—they’ find their passion and stick with it.

What kinds of foods do you love at home?

We try to start with fruits and veggies as a foundation. There’s always a basket of fruit sitting out in our house. With kids, it’s snacks that make or break you. If there isn’t something healthy available, they’ll go search for and eat whatever it is they want or can find. There’s a time for treats, but it’s all about moderation. I’m lucky that my kids have good taste, and they love grilled salmon and chicken especially.

How has working at St. Jude impacted your wellness journey?

With childhood cancer, there’s obviously no connection to environment. But as you get older, you start to think about longevity and wellbeing. There’s really strong data about how important it is to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Your brain benefits when your muscles are healthy. Quality of life is dependent on your commitment to that. St. Jude does a great job of looking out for the health and wellness of its employees through a variety of initiatives, and it’s nice to be supported in that way.

By India Nikotich. Photo by Tindall Stephens.