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!

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