Friday, 29 August 2014

Summer of Fun

Alongside our regular cubs sessions and parkrun on a Saturday we've also taken part in a Thursday morning run from the amphitheatre next to Furness Abbey. Normally an unofficial social run for the adults in term time it was decided to invite cubs and their parents along for a run/jog/walk along a scenic, traffic free path for the 6 weeks of the school holidays. This probably ranks as our favourite activity of this summer holiday.


We start the run from the Abbey Mill Coffee Shop car park and head toward Flass Lane on the footpath, following the route through Parkhouse Farm, parallel to Mill Beck. Toward the end of the path we've been taking a turn off the main path onto an unmarked trail through the scrub land to the side of the path, covered in brambles (blackberries!) and interesting things to see! The kids lovingly refer to this as 'the secret path'. By the time we've finished along this section the adult group of runners (who took a different longer route along roads) have met up with us and we all head back toward Abbey Mill on the same path.

Following 'the secret path'! 

It's been so relaxing, the kids have done some great running whilst having fun making new friends, mooing at cows in the field to get them to stand up, caterpillar and ladybird spotting and blackberry picking.

Luckily, the weather for the most part has been brilliant and meant we've all been able to have a treat from the cafe outside, picnic style! The iced coffees, milkshakes, ice cream, tea cakes and cakes have all been flowing this holiday! Abbey Mill have been wonderful hosts and have put out jugs of squash and water for the children too so we've felt most welcome. William's favourites have been the unicorn banana milkshake and the thunder and lightning ice cream and Sam has been very happy with a slice of cake! When not eating his cake Sam can be found lingering in the cafe doorway seeing what treats are being brought out for everyone else!


Charlie Cheetah, the Walney Wind Cheetah mascot has even come for a visit or two and the kids love him! Sam especially has a fascination with him and followed him around everywhere on his first visit.

These runs have it all... fun, friendship, food.... and running! We've had a super time and can't wait for the next school holiday!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

10 Reasons Why We parkrun With Our Kids

We've been parkrunning with Sam and William for about 9 months now, having fully embraced the running lifestyle. There is no place we'd rather be on a Saturday morning at 9am than in our local park in Barrow. Sometimes Andy and I get chatting to other parkrunners about running with the boys and some are amazed at how we do it each week, giving up the chance of a PB and having to go round at a pace much slower than our own. I've been having a good think about it this week and came up with this list of reasons why we bring our kids to parkrun!

1. There is NO pressure. None. Zilch. Zip. No one expects you to get a PB when you're running with a 4 year old. There is great freedom in this! Embrace it!

2. Quality time. Of course it might be that your child is Speedy Gonzales and you spend the entire time out of breath trying to keep up with them. But if your kids are like my youngest who loves jabbering on about minecraft chatting you can find out all sorts of stuff!

3. Games. I bet you don't play i-spy as you're headed round the course. I do. Standard stuff really, tree, grass, goose, bench, sky, marshal. (And whilst they're playing they don't realise how far they are running!)

4. You can be silly. Almost No one bats an eyelid if you're singing a song or pretending to be an airplane running down a hill when you're running with your children.

5. It encourages exercise! The best way to get children involved in running/exercise is for the people they look up to the most to show them how it's done. The more we've brought our children out running with us or had them support and cheer when we've done a 10k, the more it has become 'the norm' for them.

6. Pride. There is a massive amount of pleasure to be had in seeing your kids achieve a PB of their own, or enter the 10 club and in seeing your kids proud of themselves.

7. It's inclusive! parkrun was the first mainstream family activity that we've been able to involve both children with. Sam has autism but that hasn't mattered one jot at parkrun. He is totally accepted and included and that means a lot to us.

8. Build their confidence. The amount of support our boys get from other runners at Barrow parkrun is second to none. Most parkrunners know their names and give them a shout as they pass us. The more we come running the more people they get to know and their confidence grows.

9. Feeling of accomplishment. For ages after we've gone home from parkrun I have that pleased, positive feeling that we got the kids out and 'did something' with the day, even if the rest of the day is spent indoors.

10. It's FREE! Who wouldn't like a free weekly family activity?!

Of course it also helps if they like running and want to come back each week! Why not give it a go and bring the children to parkrun? Don't forget to register them and get them a barcode on the parkrun website. (Children under 11 MUST run with a parent or designated adult.) Have fun!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Wagon and Horses Fun Run and parkrun

This weekend started off with a fab Barrow parkrun once again. Another good WWC friend ran with William which allowed Andy to run by himself and attempt another PB. And it worked! He ran amazingly well and got a time of 26.26 which is about 2 and a half minutes faster than his previous time. Unfortunately he managed to pull a calf muscle in the process! 

William also managed a PB too, with a new time of 45.14! We'll need to work on cracking that 45 minute mark next! Here he is, pleased with himself after his fastest ever 5k.

On Sunday we headed to Lancaster to support our WWC friends who were running in the Wagon and Horses Half Marathon and whilst we were there thought we would enter the fun run which started shortly after the main event. Well, as it turned out, the weather forecast may have put some people off as we were the only ones who entered! The weather stayed fine whilst we took part and a Cheetah friend joined us as well. At the end we all received Lancaster race series long sleeved t-shirts as prizes. I think the boys may need a few more years to grow into theirs. William tried his on for a bit then took it off saying 'I'll save it for when I'm bigger'. 

It was lovely waving off everyone at the start of the run and seeing them all come back in. They all did brilliantly and should be proud of themselves. And we only experienced one heavy rain shower (although it was enough to soak us through!). I can only admire and support the half marathoners for the moment, the distance is too far for me just yet and I'm enjoying working on improving my 5k and 10k race times too much. 

After the last of our Wind Cheetah runners had come back in we hit the road again in search of Sweatshop in Chorley so I could choose my parkrunner of the month prize! And here they are, nice and bright aren't they?! 

Looking forward to (hopefully) getting some new PBs in them! Thank you once again Barrow parkrun!  

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ulverston Summer 10k and an Exciting parkrun Announcement

On Wednesday night we all headed over to Ulverston to take part in the Hoad Hill Harriers Ulverston Summer 10k. I had signed up for the 10k (my turn!) and we got there nice and early to register the boys for the 1 mile fun run that started just after the main event. Once we'd collected our running numbers the boys were desperate for a play on the playground outside so that's where they remained till the start of the races, playing with the other Wind Cheetah Cubs and having a great time!

Although it wasn't overly cold it was very windy and the rain clouds were looking ominous overhead as we started the 10k. This was the same course that I had run back in December 2013 at the Ulverston Pudding Run (my first 10k!) so I was really hoping to see improvement on my previous time for the course.  I surprised myself with the pace I started with, and even more so by keeping it up at least until the halfway point. I ran part of the way with a little group of Cheetahs who really kept me going with their support and encouragement. Thank you ladies!! 

I was thrilled at the 5km point to find I'd gotten a new PB of 32.34, knocking a minute off my previous time. It was harder to keep up the pace on the way back but I did my best and didn't stop the entire way.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that I was going to get a new 10k PB by at least 6 minutes! I managed a semi-sprint into the finish and was greeted with cheers and hugs and a new medal! New 10k PB is 1.08.12.  Loved giving this course another go and seeing the progress I've made. Huge thank you to the Hoad Hill Harriers for putting on another great run! 

The boys had a great time on their fun run too, running over the land around the sports club with 12 other Cheetah Cubs and getting their own medal at the end. William ran his mile in 13.22 and Sam in 13.38. They absolutely love taking part in this sort of event and although it meant a late night for them it was worth it to see them happy and proud. Both medals were hung on their medal holders when we got home! 

Another excellent part of the week was at parkrun on Saturday. I was casually listening to the pre-run briefing when the parkrunner of the month announcement was made. Couldn't believe my ears when my name was called out. I am so very grateful to whoever nominated me, Barrow parkrun is such a huge part of our lives now and it's a joy to be a part of it each Saturday morning. Had a little cry of happy tears at the start of the run but was very excited by the thought of picking out a new pair of trainers courtesy of Sweatshop! I am hoping to go to the Chorley shop on Sunday afternoon so will post again with a pic of my prize! 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Hospice at Home West Cumbria Colour Run!

What a weekend of running.... again!

First of all we had a brilliant parkrun on Saturday. I was able to run by myself thanks to a lovely friend who volunteered to run with William for me. I managed a new PB of 33.55! The best part was Sam getting a new PB too of 47.42 which smashed his previous time of 50 minutes. Seriously proud of that boy.

Today we got up early and headed for Muncaster Castle for the very first Hospice at Home West Cumbria Colour Run. The weather on the drive up was dreadful and wasn't much better when we arrived. We got registered as soon as the doors of the visitor centre opened at 9am and then headed outside where the heavens opened up again with plenty of rain showers. Managed to get a few photos taken of us still looking very clean!

We weren't put off though and as everyone was experimenting with their free paint packs the boys suddenly got very colourful! Sam really loved watching the paint dust rise up and getting covered from head to toe in colour. After using up our own packs he actually went in search of other people's! Luckily the crowd were very obliging and helped chuck paint on him. William thought throwing it on other people was the funniest thing ever.

After a short warm up session we set off. The course was a brilliant 5km trail run with different scenery round every corner. The heavy rain had the effect of creating lots of mud on the trail and for some large puddles I had to lift William over the worst parts. Sam was in his element though and sloshed through the lot!

We had more colour thrown at us at set places round the course, William's favourite part! And as we came into the finishing funnel, colour from both sides was thrown at us creating a huge cloud of colour dust! The boys had a few minutes throwing some more paint about and on other finishers here before we headed off to the lawn where all the after run activities were being held.

It would have been great to stay longer but Sam getting a little agitated and another rain shower were our cues to finish. I hope everyone else had a fab afternoon though.

Next year's Colour Run has been set for the 2nd August.  Brilliant atmosphere, fab cause and a great course, would definitely recommend this run!