The reason my children run is because I wanted it to be a normal part of their life. I didn’t want them to get to their thirties and think – oh gosh I should be more active and struggle to get started like I have (and am sure many others). We started to do Parkrun just to make exercise routine. In fact you don’t even have to run it – moving is better than being still. We started with a bit of bribery rewarding – offering bacon sandwiches and Krispy Kreme doughnuts for achieving certain (obtainable goals). Until it became a habit and the boys just came to accept that is what we do. That actually they recognised that over time, with practise, they could get better at it (and better than me in fact!) – giving them a boast to their self-confidence.
As a family we entered our first Family Fun Run – The Chocolate 5K. Our teen came third and The Sensory Seeker managed to get all the way around, despite actually believing he was going to die (he fell really early on and blood was streaming down his legs!). They were so proud of their achievement and medals. Then a race came up that the teen could run unaccompanied (he wasn’t meant to be on his own for the Chocolate Run). The Dirt Run Summer Sizzler at NT Croome – with stunning views – going on and off track (and a few hills).
This was a proper run – with chip timing and prizes. He wasn’t convinced that he could win but I believed in him. The prizes were for the top three in each category – and he only went and got third male youth! As well as his medal he got a cup and some sweets (and boy does he love sweets). He was also fourth place overall – beating any adults (but most may have been doing the 10K). The young lady who won was without a doubt fast – and powered up the hill at the start. But she also knew where she was going and was right at the front by the start flag. The teen had hung back because he didn’t know where he was going and I don’t think he believed he could run as fast as some of the others. He was a minute and 25 seconds behind her. Next time he will know where he is going (which will also help him with pacing due to hills etc – his words not mine).
But unfortunately there’s a different type of parent. We first encountered them at Parkrun Junior – pushing their children as soon as they turned 4 years old (the minimum age to run). All the time just keeping on at the child as they went round – left, right, left right; breathe in breathe out; that’s not running that’s walking – and so on! The race at NT Croome was a 5K and a 10K – with the later just being an extra lap. So there was this lad and his dad dragged him around. My teen said that this boy could not breathe and was walking – the father literally pointed out my son and made comments about how he was beating his son (which personally I think is a bit rude when a 14-year-old boy is trying to run his first race!). Then he grabbed the boy and forced him past my son. Maybe they are running for different reasons to us, reasons I do not understand. He beat him by 32 seconds that way. We all have different methods of achieving results though don’t we. What I do know is that our teen can be really proud of his result – and he did it all by himself.