I’ve well and truly dragged my family into this now! Not that they need much dragging mind you, my wife and two boys are the most supportive and enthusiastic bunch you could wish for.
Callum and Sam, our 10-year-old and 8-year-old, rarely need persuading to do something active and have run fairly regularly since we first discovered that taking them out for a mile or so on Christmas Day a couple of years ago really helped everyone to calm down from the festive frenzy.
Since then, my wife Fran – also a runner a rather good coach – has made sure they have been getting their trainers on and exploring plenty of the local neighbourhood on foot.
A focus for the boys’ running is often the Balloch Run n’ Park, which I mentioned in my first 40 for 40 blog and is essentially a parkrun in all but name which takes place just along the road from our house. With 2km and 5km options in glorious surroundings on the banks of Loch Lomond, and taking place every Saturday morning, it has been the perfect spot for the boys to begin to sample what running really has to offer.
Until recently, both Callum and Sam always opted for the 2km option. However, they are starting to progress and, with me in the midst of this challenge and putting in the training miles ahead of the Stirling Marathon, Callum was clearly beginning to think about going further.
And so it was that he and I lined up for the 5km to see how he would get on. It would either firmly cement running as a good idea to him, or put him off for life.
I’m rather chuffed to say he loved it. With a few gentle coaching points (turns out I have running wisdom I can impart!) on the run and a healthy dollop of encouragement, Callum had the energy and the urge to accelerate over the final stretch and achieve something that was entirely new to him.
It was lovely to see that happen – and to see him experience the runner’s high. To be out on a lovely morning with my family (Fran and Sam ran the 2km) and reinforcing to our kids that being outside and exercising is a really good idea…well, there are few better ways I can think of to start the weekend.
Incidentally, we were back a week later and Callum ran the 5km route precisely a minute faster. We may have awoken a monster…
- I have challenged myself to complete 40 events – involving running, swimming and triathlon – in the calendar year of 2017, the year I turn 40. I am raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. You can find my JustGiving page here. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. It really is very much appreciated and if you have any event recommendations, please get in touch!