Friday, 28 March 2014

Getting The Children Up And Running

Originally the kids began running at the same time I did (see previous post How The Running Bug Bit Me). I already knew how much my eldest son, Sam, who was then aged 5 (now 7yrs), enjoyed running. Most of the time not in the direction we wanted though! My youngest, William, was 3 when we took part in our first disability fun run and I found out then how much he enjoyed it. Even more so with the promise of a medal at the finish line! It was also lovely to see straight away his understanding that it wasn't a race and that everyone who finished the run would 'win'.

A few more opportunities over the course of 2013 meant they did a little more running. They took part in all 3 Max Inspiration runs that were held in Barrow Park, including the Grand National fancy dress run where Sam won best boy's costume for his horse outfit and William won the sweepstakes! I love the fact that running is not always just about running, but having a good time as well!

In September 2013 we entered the boys in the Walney Fun Run 1 mile disability run and also the Pennington Puddle Dash which was also 1 mile. They both managed them beautifully. William especially took the running part quite seriously!

After he turned 4 at the end of October, I started thinking about how William could keep running in between fun runs. I discovered that parkrun had no age restrictions (although children under 11 must run with an adult to supervise them). Would he want to try? Would he be able to do it? We soon had our answers as I registered him, printed off his barcode and took him for his first parkrun in Barrow. We had no expectations other than to let him run for as long as he wanted to and at his own pace. Turns out he was fab! 15 parkruns later and he's still going. He's immensely proud of his well earned 10 club t-shirt and is now working toward his 50 shirt! We made him a special parkrun chart where he can tick off his parkruns as he completes them.

William's first parkrun.
Showing off that 10 t-shirt!

We took a little more time discussing whether or not to try Sam with parkrun. We knew he was capable of the running but it was whether or not he would want to, have the concentration to finish and be able to get past the playground without wanting to go in! Sam's autism means he requires more support to get round the course, but as always he has amazed us and completed it 11 times now! The parkrunners and volunteers have all been amazing in supporting both boys and we look forward to parkrun family time now.

William waves his big brother across the finish line at Sam's 10th parkrun.

After Sport Relief last weekend we have lots of running planned for this year including the Walney Fun Run, the Grasmere Gallop and more!

Monday, 24 March 2014

How The Running Bug Bit Me

I had never thought properly about running until the family took part in the first Max Inspiration Disability Fun Run held in Barrow Park in November 2012. It wasn't a long run, and we were dressed appropriately for the torrential weather but definitely not for running! There was a terrific community atmosphere however though, and the marshals from the Walney Wind Cheetah running group were wonderful with the kids.

Us, in our pre high-vis days! 

When the event was repeated the following February I signed us up again straight away. Not only was it actually really enjoyable the first time, I think it's really important to support events that are put on for our children. Again, we had the wet weather but it didn't bother us one jot! Had trouble keeping up with the kids a bit though!

The day after that run I was enticed in a moment of madness to join the Walney Wind Cheetahs with a good friend and did my first training run with them on a very cold, very dark evening. I joined the 2 and 2 group (2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking) and could barely make it a minute and a half before having to walk instead! I was shocked though, it turned out I actually liked running! Or at least I definitely liked running with a group. Everyone was so encouraging and kept you going. In March I tried parkrun as well as keeping up with various other training runs. I managed to run more and walk less as time went on. I didn't get any faster, but my stamina grew such that in December 2013 I managed my first 10km run, the Ulverston Pudding Run with particular support from a lovely Cheetah friend and encouragement from everyone.

I haven't looked back since! As well as having lost 1 stone in weight, I am currently signed up for more 5km and 10km runs as well as being a self confessed parkrun addict! (more on parkrun in a future post)
If you would like to be as crazy as me and give running a try, why not go along to the Walney Wind Cheetahs' beginners programme?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sport Relief 2014

What a great day to start a blog about being active as a family! We (that is myself, Laura, husband Andy and our boys, Sam and William) have just had an incredible afternoon at Barrow Park, taking part in the Sport Relief 3 Mile Run. The weather was lovely and sunny, a proper Spring day. The boys were excited, especially my youngest, William, who is 4. The prospect of gaining a new medal for this run was very exciting for him!

We started off at the back, as we usually do on a run. (We are not the fastest but we get there in the end!) We had incredible support from the back markers as well as all the marshals we passed who were cheering the boys on. The sweets offered at the top of the biggest hill in the park were a great motivator for getting the boys up it! With jelly babies clutched in both hands, the boys flew round much faster than we were expecting. William was amazed to see a teletubby running as well at Batman and Robin on bicycles!

Photo taken by the lovely marshals at the top of the hill! 

William and I finished together and received our Sport Relief medals from the Mayor and Mayoress of Barrow. A few minutes later, Andy ran in with Sam. I think we all came into the finish in under 45 minutes, a time we were very pleased with! And of course, it was a charity run for Sport Relief and as a family we managed to raise £98 in sponsorship which was much higher than our £50 target!

Sam sporting his new medal whilst polishing off his jelly babies at the finish!
We'd gladly take part in this run again, the community atmosphere was brilliant. I'm still on a high several hours later! Thanks to all who organised, marshalled, sponsored and took part. You are all amazing!