Getting my family active with Park Run.
Holly, my eldest daughter has never really been interested in taking part of any sport. The closest she every got to any form of exercise was splashing around with her friends at the swimming pool every other week. If her friends decided to participate in swimming lengths or races, Holly would be quite happy to supervise and umpire. This is just our Holly, she loves nothing but to curl up and get her head lost in a book. Sport and breaking a sweat, just isn’t her thing. This always concerned me a bit, because children should have regular healthy exercise and other than the walk to school, Holly wasn’t getting any. Where we live, it isn’t suitable to be able to let your child play out the front with neighbours kids, like I did when I was growing up. My concerns are that if my children don’t adopt a healthy lifestyle now what hope do they have for a healthy future.
When Holly came out of school, a few months ago, telling me she had joined the school running club, I was shocked. I actually thought she was joking. Not only was I shocked but I was pleased she had finally found a form of exercise that she enjoyed doing and she was doing it off her own back. No pushing or encouragement from me.
Then, through word of mouth, I found out about Park Run. Park Run is an organisation that runs free weekly 5k running events across the country for all the family to join in and run or walk. After a bit more research I discovered that they ran a Junior 2k one at a park that was local to us for 4 to 14 year olds. All I had to do was register Holly up to the park run website and they emailed me a bar code specific for Holly to use at the park runs. This is so they can record her time and running position, she can then monitor her performance each week. Adults can run with the children but just won’t be timed so that was an added bonus, I could go with her for support and exercise too. I asked Holly (before I registered her) if she wanted to do it with me, give me some motivation and moral support and she was up for it. No excuses for me now.
For the last few weeks, on a Sunday morning, Holly and myself have been running the Medway Junior Park Run. We have discovered that she can run the 2k, faster than me. No surprise really I don’t run as often as I’d like to. Although she isn’t that competitive, this has encouraged her to continue, maybe she just hasn’t enjoyed sport because she just didn’t feel that good at it. She is a good runner, and very good at pacing herself. She has seen her race position and time improve every time we’ve been. Holly doesn’t run with me as she is just so much fitter than me so I encourage her to go on a head and get the best time she can. I puff away behind her, there is no way I can keep up with her.
Today, Emma decided she wanted to run with us. I think she felt a bit left out. I hadn’t registered her to park run yet but she ran with Holly and myself anyway. It just means she won’t have any timings or a run position. It has now been confirmed that Emma is also fitter than me and managed to run along side and keep up with her sister. Emma, although only 6, is our sporty one and she is very competitive, she kept trying to run ahead of Holly. Just to try to beat her! This meant she got out of breath quickly so Holly had to tell her to slow down and walk to catch her breath again. So very proud of Holly for looking out for her sister like that and I think it has empowered Holly to see that she was actually better at it than Emma. We know Holly is 3 years older than Emma and Emma needs to learn the art of pacing herself as she is a bit of a sprinter. If she runs with Holly every week, she will learn to pace herself, as Holly is very good at it. I hope one day I might be fit enough to run with them too and I’ve been sneaking in a few mid-week runs to try and boost my fitness. The dog is benefitting from these, burning so bouncy dog energy.
The main thing is, we enjoy it, we do it for fun and we’re spending time together. One day, in the near future, I hope to be running the 5k park run that they do. One step at a time though hey?
What do you and your family do to get exercise and a healthy lifestyle?
Fancy joining us in a 5k one day?
Find a local park run near you. http://www.parkrun.org.uk/