This evening, Yvonne and our son are running the final Expedition Everest Challenge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’m hanging out at home with our daughter; though we didn’t run this particular race, we went for a walk in town to see an art show, had a drink at our local coffee shop, and then walked home from town.
Running is a great sport to get into if you’ve got kids, and it’s a great sport to encourage kids to participate in. In most sports, you have winners and losers – a winning team or athlete, and then the losers who didn’t win. But in running, while you do ordinarily have winners of races, the focus is not so much on being the fastest person in the race (and in a race full of 2,000 people, there will only be one of those) but to be as fast as you personally can be, or to accomplish goals or milestones that you set yourself.
As such, running is the sort of sport that you always feel you can get better at – you can always improve your personal time, or if you’re doing intervals of running and walking, you can work to lengthen your running intervals or speed up how fast you travel during intervals.
While some people believe that “making everyone a winner” is taking away what it means to compete, in running, if you have done the best that you can do – if you’ve tackled your own personal goals – then you can declare yourself a winner. It’s a very internal thing, and if it’s kids who are doing the running, running the races, or working to improve their health and fitness, then it’s something that they can work toward without feeling that they’re not good enough or that they will never be skilled enough to compete.
If you haven’t tried running races with your kids yet, you should check it out. It’s great for your health and lots of fun! And in certain races, you can even dress up in costume to run them… how fun is that?