After last year’s City to Bay run, my 6 year old daughter asked if she could do it with me next time. So this year we entered the 3km together. There was a small part of me that wished that I was running the longer distance, but I really wanted to foster her desire to give it a shot.
We did a 2km run together each weekend for 4 weeks in the lead up, most of which involved leaping, hurdling or doing something other than running. But that was fine, she was enjoying being out there and running (well, sort of).
She was very excited at the start line. We talked a lot about making sure we drank enough water beforehand, and not going out too fast. I was a bit worried she would sprint the first few hundred metres and then not make it to the finish line. I also told her that she could walk whenever she felt the need.
Before the race, we watched the 12km runners coming past and she loved pointing out all the people that had dressed up. Eventually we lined up for the 3km start, and we were off!
She started at a good steady pace, and kept saying ‘Mummy, this is SO much fun’. We walked through the water station, but she was keen to keep running.
At the 2km mark, I told her that she could pick up the pace a little if she wanted. And she stepped it up a notch. I wasn’t sure if she could hold that pace, but she held on strong to the final straight, which was about 400m from the end. At that point I said, ‘if you want, you can run as fast as you want to the finish’. She sprinted and I really had to push to keep up with her. She sprinted all the way to the finish line, and ended up running the 3km in 24 mins.
It’s hard to see in the picture below, but she finished with a very large grin on her face…as did I! I couldn’t have been prouder. She gave it her all with determination, good humour and she’s keen for more. She’s asked to do the 6km next year, and her brother (4 years old) has asked to do the 3km, so we’ll see how we go.
I was never into sport of any kind as a child, and I love that I can share my new-found love of running with them. Hopefully it is something they will take with them throughout their lives.