After doing the Color Me Rad 5K a couple of months ago, we got an email about a 1-mile race for kids called John's Run 4 Kids. It's a race to benefit Backpack Beginnings, a charity that provides food and necessities to underprivileged schoolchildren in Guilford County. The race is open for kids from preschool to 5th grade. The course starts at City Center Park in Greensboro and the kids run through the park, the Cultural Arts Center, the Children's Museum, around the Historical Museum and back to the park, navigating a few obstacles on the way. Parents are welcome to run with their kids and cheer them on the whole way.
We signed Olivia and the boys up for it and O and I started training by running 1 mile 4 to 5 times a week for 6 weeks. Olivia did great with the training, running the full mile right from the first time out. On our runs, we talked about setting goals for the race (1. Finish the race and 2. Run the whole way), strategies for achieving those goals (pace yourself, don't worry about anyone else) and how to handle the stress of competing (you are only racing against yourself, you can cry all you want once you cross the finish line). By the day before the race, she was consistently running a mile in under 12 minutes. Her best was 11:06.
She was really nervous when it came time to line up. When I signed her up, I entered her in the 3rd- to 5th-grade group since she was right on the bubble and to give myself some time between her race and the boys' race. Once she was actually in her group, though, it was clear that she probably should have been in the younger group. I reminded her about her goals and the things we had talked about in training. She took some deep breaths and got herself ready.
She did just what we had practiced. She ran at a comfortable pace and didn't get flustered when almost everyone ran past her.
First obstacle: Tires
Second: Logs and Nets
Her determination to run the whole way was inspiring. We got about 1/3 of the way through the race and she began passing some people who had sprinted at the start and were now walking because they were tired.
Third Obstacle: The Plane Slide in the Children's Museum. It was a quick moment of fun and got a laugh out her despite her focus.
Last Obstacle: The Tunnel. She got excited when she saw this one coming up.
I was so proud of her for accomplishing both of her goals. She broke down in tears once we finished because she was so happy she had done it. There weren't any official timers for the race, so I had to look back at the time stamps on my pictures to figure out her time. We were both amazed: 9:44! She had beaten her best time by more than a minute and that was with the obstacles!
She was a great sport and cheered on the next group of racers as they went past.
Next up, I lined up with Gabe and Ezra to run it with them. Ezra wasn't to keen on the idea, but Gabe was so excited! When they said, "Go!", I practically had to drag Ezra along while Gabe kept looking back for us.
Gabe attacked the tires with gusto.
Ezra was a little less energetic, but tried it anyway. This was about as far as he got in the race. In order to keep up with Gabe, I had to pick him up and carry him.
Gabe finished the tires and moved on to the logs.
Rather than do a running jump over them, he stopped at each one and hopped. It was so cute to watch!
He crawled under the nets with no problem.
After this point, the race ran past where Rebecca and the girls were watching, so I dropped Ezra with them (at his request) and continued on with Gabe.
The kid's enthusiasm was so great! He was just thrilled to be running in the race. I kept sprinting ahead so I could get pictures of him. The smile never left his face.
Gabe was no less amazing than Olivia. We skipped the portion of the race that went through the Cultural Arts Center, just because there weren't any obstacles there, so that cut off about 1/4 mile of the run. He ran just about the whole 3/4 mile in about 12 minutes!
If you have kids who are at all inclined to run and have fun (which is just about any kid), this is a race to sign them up for next year!