By: Courtney Murphy
One of the things that I love about the K5K is the wide age array that the race attracts. It really is a family affair. To see our children running their first race alongside a parent who may also be running their first race breathes fresh symbiotic air into a race that takes place in an otherwise very muggy month. The parents are motivating the children and the children are motivating the parents and not always in that order. Regardless, there is a special spark in a race where younger runners participate. And K5K is a great race to introduce a younger runner too – it’s a fairly flat 5K in a neighborhood that is near and dear to so many children and families of Greensboro.
I decided to talk to one of these younger runners and get their thoughts on the K5K. I didn’t have to look far, and since time is somewhat of a commodity at my house, I decided to sit down in my den and have a little interview with my oldest son, William, who will be participating in his third K5K this summer.
His first K5K was in 2012 and he was the ripe ole age of 6. This was his decision after running the Fun Run in 2011. He wanted to do the “big race”. So, I signed him up. I tried to coax him into a few training runs, but I met resistance, so I didn’t push it. I finally convinced him the week before the race to go out with me and practice pacing a bit. He complained the whole way: it was too hot, he wanted to walk, when would be done. We made it about half a mile before I threw in the training towel and we walked home. I’m not gonna lie…I had some doubts about how this was going to end.
But, race day came and something happened. The energy of the race, specifically the K5K, took over and he ran every single step of the 3.1 miles without a single walk break in 30:19, with a smile on his face and waving to friends. I could not believe it.
2013 rolled around and again, I asked him if he would like to run the K5K. Without hesitating, he agreed. Again, training runs were difficult, so again I decided not to push him into it. The week before the race, we ran 2 miles together. He walked a few times up some rather large hills on a very hot day. There was less complaining.
Race day came and he woke up with a determined look on his face. One I knew all too well. He actually asked me to pull up the results from last year so he would know what time to beat. I obliged. He went out and ran every single step of the way, this time, reducing his time to 26:48.
He is already fired up about the 2014 K5K, which I’ll be honest, lights a fire under me as well. These are his thoughts on what makes it a great race and a glimpse into coaxing information out of an 8-yo.
CM: What do you like about running?
WM: I like running but I especially like running in races.
WM: Because it’s fun.
WM: Because it makes me feel really proud of myself.
CM: Why do you like the K5K?
WM: Because it is really near my house and a lot of my friends are there running and watching. And I like the free food at the end [of course].
CM: Is it hard to run 3.1 miles?
WM: It’s pretty easy if you pace yourself.
CM: What about when you get tired? How do you keep running?
WM: In my mind, I say, “William, you can finish this”.
CM: Do you have a goal for this year?
WM: This year, I want to run the K5K in 25:30.
And you know what? I have absolutely no doubt he will. He has the fearless confidence that only a child truly possesses in its most natural form. And adults could learn something from these young runners. So, if you’ve never ran a 5K, try it. And regardless of if you are a 5K newbie or not, ask your kids to do it with you. Do something active and outside together. Work on a common goal. Drink from their fountain of fearless confidence and excitement on race day. And definitely, enjoy that free food at the end.