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Sunday 30 April 2023

100 Reasons NOT To Do parkrun With Small Children

I managed to talk my 13 year old, The Small, into a parkrun by reminding her she was on 9 parkruns … and if she did another one, she’d be on for her '10 parkruns achievement' and a t-shirt. 

This was enough encouragement. She decided that not only did she want her 10 t-shirt but she also wanted a PB. She had 36 minutes 36 seconds to beat and chose her favourite course at Sixfields and her current PB course to attempt this at. 
As a dutiful mother and motivator, I was told to find out what pace she had to run for a PB and be chief pacer. Her friend G was coming with us and she was a bit quicker than the Small but she was happy to run at Small’s pace. As G was under 11, she also had to stay close to me according to the parkrun rules. Ok no pressure. Pace set, cheering buddy coming, all the Small had to do was run it.

The girls did a short warmup and were good to go. The start was as usual a bit congested, but it all settled down by the time we reached the main path.

Then a third of a mile in the Small decided she didn’t like running and proclaimed, “Today is not the day.” 

Half a mile in she was asking to walk.

If things are tough Small does NOT want to do them. I get that. She hasn’t grasped the concept of Type 2 Fun yet. She will.

I told Small she was doing fine. She shouted that she wasn’t, and that she hated running. 


G was perfectly happy trotting along. She’s 3 years younger than Small but was quite happy to run.
I gave in and let Small walk for 10 steps over the bridge. I also enthusiastically told her she was over halfway done. A blatant lie.

At halfway she was huffing and crying. Great.

There were snot bubbles.

Told her to stop crying as it would make it harder to breathe. Tried to do it in a sympathetic voice.

Not sure I managed it.

At the 2-mile point. G said her toe hurt. She stopped to take her shoe off. I carried on dragging the Small and told G to catch us up as we were going at cry speed. Which is very slow.

G sorted her shoe and caught us up.

50m later her toe “Super hurt”. Shoe off again.

The Small crying about hating running. G crying that her toe hurt. We were well over halfway through the 3 mile run now but in small-girl-miles, we were into ultra-marathon territory.

Is there anything more dramatic than two small girls?

Marshals giving me stink eye as I was clearly THAT mother forcing kids to run when they didn’t want to. Yep. That’s me. Making them do exercise outside and prising their phones out of their poor cold little fingers. 

I gave them two options. The first was to cut straight to the finish but not get barcode scanned. Or carry on and finish properly and get barcode scanned.

Through snot and tears, they both decided that they wanted to finish the parkrun properly. Despite one whose toe was about to drop off and one who was clearly dying of TOO MUCH DRAMA.

We could see the finish line and Small was still asking to walk. Why not? We could drag this parkrun out all day if we went a bit slower.

G wanted to run a bit quicker. Understandable. If we started going slower, we’d be going backwards. As I could see the entire finish section, I told her she could if she wanted. She managed 20m and walked. 

Small still wanted to walk. I told her she could but wouldn’t get her PB.

She blew a final snot bubble and caught up G and they both staggered towards the finish line. G had a stitch but it took her mind off her toe.

They both managed a sprint finish. Small got her PB and G got a plaster.

I got a new resolution never to do parkrun with small children again.

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