Today we woke up, threw on running gear and raced out the door. The Healthy Communities Partnership was running a 5k, Run for the Health of It. A friend of mine is a grant writer and director for this wonderful organization. She told us about the race and explained there was to be a fun run for the kids. A bunch of us decided to run it with the kids. Matt had PP and LP in the double stroller. Our friend Michael had one of his girls in a single stroller with his oldest running alongside. I was pacing an amazing 7-year-old boy; M while his dad went out on a time check. My friend J was there, trying to get through her first 5k ever.
We all gathered at the start line I was with my little runner coaching him at the start. I explained that we do not want to start to fast so we can have an awesome sprint finish. My advice was ignored and we were sprinting at the start. We were cruising at the front of the pack when we quickly slowed down. M and I continued to run for some time, his father passed us first, and then Julia took off after we took a walk break. We looked at the beautiful cross-country course that wrapped around a walnut grove adjacent to the high school in Greencastle. The dads were still behind us with the jog strollers trying to negotiate over heavy grass and rocky trails. M and I were happy for our morning run and decided we should start sprinting and walking to make up for his diminishing endurance. He enjoyed barreling down the trail and the walks equally as much.
It came to a point that he no longer wanted to run at all we were being passed by everyone. I knew this bothered him but the fatigue was too much until he spied the strollers through the trees. The stroller brigade was catching us and this simply was not acceptable in the mind of a 7-year-old boy. He took off down the trail forgetting his fatigue for a time. After numerous redirections from his suggestions to cut corners or just not complete the race we finally came to the break in the trees and the finish line was in site. The only issue is we had to make a big loop around the school in the tall grass before finishing. I found that his competitive nature was a motivation. I used other runners as carrots for him to catch. As we traveled through the long grass for the second time during the run, M looked up to me and said ”The really need to cut this grass”. The anger, frustration and fatigue had set in. It was times to pull out that last ditch effort to keep him going. I used myself as a carrot; he could not let this old lady beat him. We came racing into the finish as I pulled up my speed to let him pass at the last moment. He celebrated for just a moment and then we returned to sidelines to watch the girls and the strollers race to the finish.
We watched them run down the hill and through the grass. LP looked so natural with her shoulders back and chest forward, followed by PP and her bounding stride as the crossed the finish line together. It was such an amazing morning and wonderful to see such young children embrace the joy and love of running.