For the 4th of July last year, my then eight year old son ran his first 5k race and my husband and I paced him. He loved it and this year wanted to do it again. My seven year old daughter wanted to run as well. So we have been training a little bit in preparation for the race--nothing crazy, just a couple one and two milers here and there this last month.
My husband wasn't with us this year. The lake looked to tempting and he and my oldest son went waterskiing instead. So I took my other three kids, put the two year old in the stroller, sent my son off to run his own pace, and paced my daughter through her race.
I was so proud of her. She paced herself well and only walked twice, once at the one mile mark, and then at the two mile mark. She was very consistent on her pace and didn't complain about how hard it was. (I could have walked her pace, but didn't because I didn't want to discourage her.)
There was a parade immediately following the 5k so the crowds were out for the parade, but were very supportive of her. She waved to everyone who cheered her on and said thanks.
I am usually a middle of the pack runner, so running towards the back with her was very interesting. We were back by the walkers and everyone was so kind and supportive, completely concerned with each other. It was a different feel than the frantic, I've-got-to-PR attitude I usually run around.
Anyway, I am happy that she ran and had a good experience. I'm hoping this will help instill in her an active, healthy lifestyle and help her worry less about her body image.
By the way, my son beat his last year's time by 5 minutes. He was so excited and proud. I was proud of him as well for running ahead of us and staying focused on his own time.