I shouted from the start line marked by two orange safety cones to kick off our THINK Day 5K race.
As the runners sprinted from the start line, my eyes pooled with tears. Each child and adult beamed with excitement and pride. The culmination of weeks of training and hard work gave every runner the confidence, power, strength and endurance to go the distance.
During our homeschool spring semester, I led a Couch to 5K class for the families at my homeschool co-op, THINK. Over 12 weeks, the children and adults slowly increased their distance and time. (Kids C25K plan to follow in my next blog post! Stay tuned!)
To celebrate everyone’s achievement of reaching their goal, I organized a THINK Day 5K on the last day of our semester. All of our co-op families were welcome to join the fun run, even if they did not take the class.
Coincidentally, our little ol’ 5K fun run happened to fall on the same day as the Boston Marathon. We ran in spirit with some of the world’s elite runners.
To give our 5k the feel of a real small town local race (or even one as elite as the Boston Marathon), I created an official race course, ordered fun run medals for each participant and enlisted several parents and kids to volunteer to help facilitate a smooth running event. Just like a real race, we had spectators, a water station, timekeepers, medals and post race refreshments.
Friends and families who didn’t run played the part of spectators by cheering for the runners along the course. Classmates made signs, danced, cheered, rattled noisemakers and even ran alongside their friends to keep the runners’ spirits up.
My mom and a couple of her friends manned the water station like bartenders. Nearby, a team of friends, nicknamed the “Super Soaker Squad” aimed water blasters at the overheating runners. The cool water zapping their sweaty bodies gave the runners a boost of energy to keep going.
As the runners crossed the finish line, a parent poised as a race photographer captured the Kodak moments and milestones while a team of timekeepers recorded each runner’s finish time. Another set of parents handed out race medals to the runners while another group of volunteers distributed popsicles and smiles to the very sweaty runners.
All the elements – the cheers, the amazing signs of encouragement, the gallons of water squirted at the runners, the water station, the race photographer, the spectators, the finish line medal team, the time keepers and the popsicle squad – combined with determination of each runner made the event a huge success.
And more importantly, put FUN in a fun run.
Throughout the semester, I told my C25K runners, “Forward is a pace.” Race day was no different. They pushed themselves through the heat of a sunny spring day and the uncomfortable burn in their legs.
Liam’s Finish Time 33:40
My Finish Time 37:01
Our co-op’s first 5K race was an amazing achievement, but I could not have pulled it without the support of our amazing families.
I am totally making this fun run an annual event.
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