The Junior Parkrun started up near us a couple of weeks ago. It is 2k, rather than the 5k (or 3 miles as I prefer to call it – I’m old school and I run in miles, not k!) of the ‘proper’ Parkrun and is run in a different park on a Sunday morning.
Junior Parkrun is for children aged 4-14. Whereas with the ‘real’ Parkrun, adults have to run with children under 11, kids can run alone in Junior Parkrun as the course is small and has plenty of marshals to keep an eye on them. Adults can run if they like, but mustn’t cross the finishing line or get in the way of any runners.
My daughter continues to run/ battle with the main Parkrun, but was keen to give the Junior Parkrun a go too.
We are running Parkrun practically every Saturday now and every Saturday she feels sick or gets too hot or her legs hurt. Every Saturday she beats herself up about her time. But still she goes back every week. I admire her determination. I keep telling her that she will get better – her time will improve and she will feel more comfortable – the more she does it. She still won’t accept that running 3 miles in 34 minutes is really flipping good for a 9 year old.
The 2k Junior Parkrun should be a walk in the park. It should also help her fitness and stamina for the Parkrun. Win!
I wasn’t quite sure how to get to the Junior Parkrun venue, so my husband offered to come with us.
‘I’m only coming this once though.’
As soon as we arrived, Competitive Dad kicked in. He was full of advice on where she should start (near the front) and how fast she should run her laps. He likes her to do her best every bit as much as she does.
So my daughter started the race near the front.
Her stride looked good and she was one of the first girls to pass us. The course was three laps, so we could always see her in the distance (nobody’s hair is as long as my daughter’s!). She was smiling as she ran past us the first time. We saw her overtaking people in the distance. On her second lap, she was still smiling.
My husband had a plan for her third lap, he would meet her halfway and run a bit with her, then I would be there just before the end to spur her on for a sprint finish.
She sprinted, she overtook some people and she was finished. But she told us she didn’t need us. This was Junior Parkrun. She was up against people like herself and it was easier than Parkrun. She was happy to finish the run without encouragement.
So how did she do?
She ran it in 10 minutes and 49 seconds (2k is a mile and a quarter if you like to measure things in the old money like I do), coming 60th out of 159 kids. She was 12th girl home, which I think is really blimmin’ good, considering the kids could be up to five years older than her.
So I’m very proud of my little runner again. And it looks like Junior Parkrun might be added to our weekly sporting agenda!