A blog by runners. For runners.

Childcare options during races

Childcare options during racesOne of the things I love most about my husband is he loves to run and race as much as I do. In our 20s, we spent many weekends at road races and triathlons. We usually participated in the same races. It was a lot of fun having someone to “train” with – we didn’t actually do training runs together but we compared notes – and complete a race with.

Then we had kids. And, just like everyone warned, everything changed – including our ability to run races together.

At first, we alternated training seasons. On race day, one of us would compete while the other would spectate and watch our son. But we missed running together.

I’m happy to report that we’ve done several races together in the past year or so. We’ve just had to get creative with childcare choices during races. We do the following so we can both race together:

Make racing a family affair
Whenever we think about registering for a race, one of the first things we do is check if the race allows strollers, so we can race with our kids. Then we trade off who has to push the stroller and who gets to race without the kids. I love that my kids are being exposed to the thrill of racing from such an early age. We really like races that have a stroller division and offer a kids’ race after the main event so my older child had the chance to truly race, too.

Find races with onsite childcare
Just last month, the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series partnered with RaceKids to offer a day camp service for children aged 2-12 during select race weekends. The goal of the partnership is to offer “parents a safe and fun place for their kids while they race.” Every RaceKids staff member is certified in First Aid, CPR, and Epi-pen administration so parents can race easy knowing their children are well cared for. RaceKids will be available at the Denver, Savannah, and San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll events in 2014, with more locations added for 2015.

Other races offer onsite childcare, too, and some even partner with childcare providers in the area. Just do your homework first, though, and double check any childcare service is fully licensed, insured, and has a good reputation.

Swap babysitting services with runner friends
Survey your running group and see who’s running which races. If you and some of your buddies are running different races, offer to watch each other’s children during the race you’re not running. Or if one of your running friends has an older child who will be spectating, hire him or her to watch your children at the race site. He or she may love the idea of earning some cash while cheering mom and/or dad on!

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live near grandma and grandpa, leaving your children in their loving care is a fantastic option. When my parents are in town, I always let the kids sleep in for longer races and then my parents bring them to greet me at the finish. Seeing their little faces make crossing the finish line even sweeter!

What do you do with your kids on race day?

Article and Photo by Jen Matz.

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