Growing up with two older sisters and a younger one, all athletic and competitive and all into soccer, can make it difficult to carve your own niche in the household.
Not so for Macey Higgasson, 7, who started running 5K races in October, has 16 races under her belt and a plethora of medals for top placements.
Higgasson’s two older sisters, Kelsey and Megan, carved their niches playing soccer at First Presbyterian Christian Academy and Long County High School. Both sisters were part of the FPCA state title-winning team and later took Long County to the playoffs during the program’s second and third seasons.
Kelsey Higgasson is now playing soccer for Armstrong State University, and Megan Higgasson will be a senior for the Lady Blue Tide next school year.
Macey also plays soccer, as does her younger sister, Kadyn, 5, but mother Karen Higgasson said this year that there was a definite shift in her competitiveness and choice of sport.
“My husband is a really big runner. That is his passion and he runs full marathons,” Karen Higgason said, adding that she thinks that is where the running connection ties in for her daughter.
The girls’ father, Rusty Higgasson is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Karen Higgason currently coaches her daughter’s 10U soccer team and said her daughter started showing more drive and determination in, of all things, running laps during practice.
“I made them run laps and stuff, and she liked it,” she said.
Seeing that her daughter enjoyed running, the two set out to start training.
“When we first started I would tell her, ‘Let’s run to the mailbox and then we will walk a little bit,’” she said. “We would get to the mailbox and she would walk like two or three more steps, and then she would run again.”
Mother and daughter ran their first 5K in Ludowici in October in a race that benefited the American Diabetes Association.
“We thought we would try it to see if she liked it, and she ended up getting third place out of all the runners,” Higgason said. “It was also my first 5K, so it was a learning experience for both of us.”
Higgasson said her daughter has since improved her race time.
“Her first race was 38 minutes, and she has gotten down to 27 minutes,” she said, adding that the two have completed 16 races. “And she doesn’t practice or anything, she just runs the races. She has placed first in every race except for three and for those, she got second or third. And there was only one to three races overall she didn’t place.”
Higgason said her daughter has shown her competitive edge during races, running by participants she thinks are in her age category, and even beating Higgason to the finish line on occasion.
“She will scope out and see the kids that look about her age that are in the race, and she will keep her eyes on them and one by one, she will pass them,” mom said. “At the end, she is very strong at sprinting, so like the last half mile she will sprint the whole way. In some races, she is in the 10-and-under category, and she has gotten three medals running in the 14-and-under division. In the recent Hinesville Board of Realtors race, she was in first place in the 14-and-under.”
They often share the news with their father, who also stays busy with runs while he is deployed.
“He has done two races. … He did a 10K and got 10th place out of 400 runners, and he did a marathon, which they had to run inside on treadmills as well,” Higgason said.
Macey has expressed her interest in running a 10K, and Higgason said they might try that before moving on to bigger things, such as the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.
“She wants to do a 10K, but we haven’t tried one yet. We are waiting for it to cool off a little bit before we start it,” Higgason said.
The last race they did before taking a family vacation break was on Mother’s Day.
“But we are looking to do the Super Soaker, which is July 11 and then another one July 18. Both are in Savannah,” Higgason added.
The Super Soaker has a half-mile run, and younger daughter Kadyn is expected to make her running debut for that race.
The mother-and-daughter race team keep track of their races with Savannah Endurance Racing.
“Macey is sixth out of 2,935 runners on Savannah Endurance Race,” Higgason said.
“I was No. 1,” Macey grumbled, adding that she didn’t race last month because they were on a cruise.
“She is so competitive, and it’s for everything,” Higgason said. “She reminds me a lot of Kelsey. … Everything she does is for a purpose.”
Higgasson said her daughter is trying to get her 5K time under 25 minutes before Dad returns home in February.