As the boys have gotten older I’ve been starting to take them to various running events themselves. We’ve done a few short little trail races and events like Colour Me Rad but this past weekend we did my oldest son’s first real 5k – The Great Pumpkin Run 5k benefitting the Peace Arch Hospital here in White Rock, BC.
This was a logical choice for his first road race because a bunch of families from our elementary school were also doing it and being a pumpkin run, getting to wear a costume was a definite draw.
A couple days before the race I started to pull out our old Halloween costumes to see what my son wanted to wear. Fortunately I’ve been making the boys costumes for the last few years so there were a few things to choose from. He settled on the skeleton again, even though the pants were a couple inches too short.
And what did I go dressed as? A giant cupcake of course!
The cupcake costume was one I made for the Beat the Blerch 10k a couple years ago and it’s been sitting in my craft room staring at me ever since then. It was originally made for a friend so I’d never actually worn it myself. The Great Pumpkin Run 5k seemed like the perfect place to give it a whirl myself.
The run was being held just minutes from our house but parking down at the beach was nuts so we just squeaked into the starting area with a few minutes to spare. Thankfully my friends were able to grab our bibs for us before we got there.
We mingled around for a bit, met up with friends and chatted until the race was ready to start. We decided to start near the back so that we wouldn’t get in anyone’s way and also since some of the friends we were running with had strollers.
My son was super excited to start the race and as soon as we started to move, a huge smile spread over his face. We talked about saving our energy and not going out too fast but his little 6 year old mind didn’t quite see the big picture and shot off like a dart as soon as he could. We were barely 5 minutes into the run and already a friend and I were chasing all the little boys up the hill.
The course started on the beach and immediately went up a fairly steep and fairly long hill. I regularly use this hill for speed training so it felt kind of weird to be chasing kids up it for a change. Needless to say, it didn’t take long to warm up!
I didn’t really have much of a strategy for this race other than to just get my son across the finish line in somewhat of a good mood. I knew 5k would feel a bit long to him but figured we could cut the course and head back early if we really had to.
The crowd was really fun because so many people were dressed up. Most people’s reaction was to laugh when I ran by but that’s okay, I was running with a huge cupcake on my head after all! It definitely wobbled a bit but was far more secure than I expected. Only when I was sprinting to catch the boys did I have to grab the brim of the hat and hold it tight.
Anyhow, my son managed to hang on until past the halfway mark before he even asked how much long there was. We were doing a mixture of running and walking and it seemed to be working well for him. As usual, I employed my distraction strategy to keep him from thinking about how long he’d been running. It worked great in this case because there were so many fun things to talk about on the course like the costumes, yard decorations and the beach.
Before I knew it we were already heading back downhill towards the beach and I knew that we must be getting close to the end. My son was pretty excited about that because he knew there would be snacks at the finish line. Who am I to judge what motivates him, right?
We crossed the finish line of his very first 5k in just over 47 minutes. Considering the amount of walking we did, I thought that was a pretty good little time for him. He was pleased, grabbed his ribbon and ran off in search of the popcorn that was being served at the finish line. I guess he’s like his mother, always hunting down the best post-race snacks!
Given that I really haven’t run a lot with the boys, I was definitely a bit worried that he might find 5k a bit far to run. He certainly had his moments of being pooped but overall, did really well at that distance. I was super impressed and just loved running alongside him at an actual race.
The skeleton costume and the giant cupcake have since been stored away for safe keeping but my son is already asking about what he should dress up as for the Great Pumpkin Run 5k next year. Atta boy.