A blog by runners. For runners.

‘Races’ for children: fun for the entire family

Races for children: my new favorite event
I have a new favorite race, and it’s an event I can’t even technically participate in. Even though I’ll never get a PR, medal, or even a finishing time, no event has ever filled me with more pride and happiness.

I’m talking about kids’ races. As a runner, nothing excites me more than seeing my son participate in the sport I love. At the age of two, he seems to genuinely love running already. He always wants to join me on runs – not just in the stroller, he actually wants to run alongside me. So, his little face lights up when I tell him he gets to race.

Then when the actual race happens? Forget about it. I thought I got excited on race day, but kids take excitement up to a whole other level.

What to expect at kids’ races
From diaper dashes to tot trots to a competitive mile and kids’ obstacle races, there’s something for children of every age. Kids’ races are rarely standalone events, they’re typically held as part of race weekends. Some kids’ races may be right before the main event, a couple hours after the start, or even the day before, such as during packet pick-up.

The majority of kids’ races are untimed, but events for older children may be more official and even have awards. Distances offered vary a lot, too. A diaper dash for crawlers may only be 10 meters, but 8 and 9 year olds may have the opportunity to run a mile. Parents are usually encouraged to run alongside younger children.

Kids’ races vary in what’s offered just as much as adult races do. Some are no frills and free of charge – someone just shouts “go!” and the children race from one end of the parking lot to the other. While other races require registration months in advance and the child receives a personalized race bib, t-shirt, medal, on-course entertainment, and post-race refreshments – my son did a 100m dash at Disney last year and they served kid-approved grub like raisins, sliced bananas, and Clif Kid Zbars.

Where to find them
Kids’ races are popping up all over. My son recently ran a 1k kids’ run as part of a small, local 4-miler and he’s participating in a 20 meter beach dash next month during a 5k race I’m running. The easiest way to find a kids’ race is to look at the websites of events you’re running, and see if they offer a children’s event. Spartan has their own series of kids’ obstacle races, and runDisney offers kids’ events during all of their race weekends, too.

What you’ll get out of it
Even though my son loves running races, I think I get more out of the experience than he does. During that recent 1k race, I kept asking him if he wanted to take walk breaks or be carried, but he insisted on running the entire way. When he crossed the finish line, he turned to me and said, “I did it! All by myself, mommy!” I’ve never seen him more proud. Since then, I’ve tried taking a step back during the day, letting him figure challenges out on his own, and only helping him when he asks. A very important lesson learned for this mom.

Written by Jen Matz

RELATED

 

Study: Beginners should ease into running (very) slowly to prevent injury

Beginners: start running slowly

I remember when I first started running years ago. I wanted to be like my friends who were runners, meaning I wanted to be able to run 3 or 4 miles without taking walk breaks – right away. Well, of course, that didn’t happen. Getting into running … [Continue reading]

Get faster, no speedwork required

Run faster, without traditional speed workouts

A friend and I were talking half marathon training the other day. She’s run a couple half marathons and wants to PR in the distance in the fall, but she has a problem: she hates prescribed speedwork. If a training plan calls for 800m repeats or tempo … [Continue reading]

Taking running safety to the next level: new tips

New tips to stay safe on the run

In case you haven't noticed, we take running safety pretty seriously here at WalkJogRun. While we've compiled safety tips in the past, here are a few additional ones to consider (as well as a reminder of the basic ones) this summer – and … [Continue reading]

Ditch the disclaimer: stop apologizing for your race distance

If you choose to run the 5 mile of a 5 and 10, go for it! If you love the feel of a half marathon and loathe marathons, booyah! You are not half the athlete. You're badass.

Waiting in an endless line for Porta Potty at the Empire State Marathon and Half, I stood behind two women: runner A and runner B, respectively. Here's what I heard. Runner A: What a great day to run 26.2. Runner B: It's beautiful. But I'm ONLY … [Continue reading]

Fruit spotlight: avocado

Fruit spotlight on avocados | about and recipes for runners

Healthy fats. Avocados have them in spades. But did you know that avocados also have 20 key nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin E, and choline? They are a power-packed superfood – and one you should certainly consider adding to your diet if you … [Continue reading]

Top 5 picks for summer running gear

picks for summer running gear

We’re in the middle of those long summer days that we’ll be wishing for fondly come January. Every day is sunny, warm, and it sometimes seems like there’s light no matter what time you head out for your run. To celebrate these blissful days of … [Continue reading]

Marathon training: Fitting in the long run

Fitting in your long run

I love half marathons. I love the race distance and I love the training. But whenever I make the leap to the full, it’s a whole other ballgame. Why? Because marathon training rules your life. It’s a huge time commitment. On paper, the difference … [Continue reading]

Must-do races for the night owls

Night time races

Can’t stand to get up before the sun to make it to the start line of a race? If so, you’re in luck. Evening and nighttime races are popping up all over the U.S. Moonlight half marathon, Mapleton, Utah, August 8, 2014. This half is unlike any … [Continue reading]

Running safety: picking the safest route

Picking the right running route

Running with a buddy is one of the surest ways to stay safe on your daily loop. But if you prefer solo-jogs there are some smart things you can do to enjoy alone time all while staying out of harm's way. We already have a number of safety tips on … [Continue reading]