Yesterday, Wayne Kevin and I ran the Women’s Distance Festival race in Indianhead Acres. I was really happy to run my second sub-39:00 race in twelve days, and Wayne had a good mile run as well.
My original draft for this blog talked about one of the main topics of curiosity on Wayne’s part when he started running the 1 mile in this race in 2006 — why are the street names so funny? (We always park on Kolopakin Nene, which apparently is an authentically Seminole way of saying “Seventh Trail.”). I learned that the original developers wanted to name Jim Lee Trail “Humpin Nene”! Some ideas are better left not implemented.
Back to original programming ……
After the 5K, I helped set out the prizes for the one mile run – TOYS!!! After the kids finish their run, they are called up in the order of their finish to choose a toy as their reward. Here was the loot freshly arrayed:
And here is the loot surrounded by the excited kids as they awaited the 1 mile awards:
Between taking picture #1 and picture #2, I watched all the kids finish the race. The most dramatic moment of the entire day was this neck-and-neck finish between Lily and Austin, who finished within .29 seconds of each other:
I don’t know the full backstory of why these two 7 year olds were so bound and determined to prevail over each other. The finish was right up there with one of Michael Phelps’s oh-so-close finishes in the Beijing Olympics.
What I do know is that no toy in the world will bring out the tenacity I saw in these two young people yesterday. It comes from somewhere else deeper in the soul.
Each child got a goodie bag yesterday in addition to their toy of choice. (They could also choose a trophy instead of a toy). These rewards for getting up early, running a mile, and pitting yourself against your goal of choice: beating your most recent “best” time, beating a worthy competitor, earning “grand prix” points, or just finishing the race, are important incentives to get kids out to our races and integrated into the world of running.
Lily’s and Austin’s toys, along with all of the other ones earned yesterday, won’t last forever. But that building block of “I can do this” is no child’s play —- it will “go the distance” of a lifetime.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.