Taking kids to a ParkRun

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31/01/2013 at 10:56
We don't have a ParkRun anywhere near us, but we're going to be in Bedford in a couple of weeks and I was thinking of going along but we've 2 boys aged 5 and 8. They both love to run, but I don't know whether they can run 5k. The parkrun website says that its fine to take kids. I expect the 8 year old could do 5k with no real bother, whereas the 5 year old would probably not due to boredom in the normal course of things, but might keep going if in a Group event. Obviously I wouldn't 'make' them keep running (not sure how you could anyway!) if they wanted to stop, but is it a totally daft idea to take them to a ParkRun? Does anyone else take kids and, if so, what age?
31/01/2013 at 11:07

I saw a dad taking his two children round our parkrun: he told the older one to wait 10 seconds, then run ahead to a point in the course 50 yards ahead or so (ie. go to the big tree) where he waited for his dad and brother to catch up. The older one did a series of sprints - the dad and the young one took it more sedately. They both seemed to be having fun, and keeping to their own level.

31/01/2013 at 11:12

I think it's a great idea!  Quite a lot of parents bring their kids to my local parkrun, the youngest regular is 6 and he usually dashes off at the start and slows down by 1km. The approach that Dan describes sounds like a good way to keep both kids interested for the whole 5k

seren nos    pirate
31/01/2013 at 11:15

with the two children it would be easier if there were two adults as young children need to be accompanied........which can be difficult if they are different levels........

31/01/2013 at 11:46
There would be 2 adults, sorry, wasn't clear. It's because my husband and I would both want to run that we'd have to take the kids. I'd probably send the 8 year old with daddy and the 5 year old could come with me. We do a lot of the 'run ahead to that point' sort of thing when we're walking anyway (although it's the little one who does it more) and also 'run to there and then back to us'. Think pair of black and white collie dogs and you've got the idea of taking my kids for a walk!
31/01/2013 at 11:50

Love that description Shona! That's exactly what it's like taking my little cousins out

seren nos    pirate
31/01/2013 at 11:54

That put a smile on my face

31/01/2013 at 11:58

In terms of simply should a 5 and 8 year old do parkrun: a resounding DEFINITELY!!! Won't be out of place at all, and there is no time that is too slow for parkrun. Make sure everyone is signed up and has their barcode! 10 runs, and they get a T-shirt (the juniors only - 50 runs minimum for adults

31/01/2013 at 12:08

i'm sure the kids would love it. and from my experience they ususally get a good welcome from most of the runners, except maybe the front of the pack runners who don't really seem to be in to mingle (IMHO)

02/02/2013 at 16:45

I've been taking my (now 10 year old) to parkrun since last year.  He has run 5k and has done 10 to get his t-shirt but as there's a 2.5k one lap option, he usually does that and then waits for my husband and I to do the second lap.  It's great exercise and is quick, unlike the interminable (well, 30 mins warm-up and 40 mins for the match) football matches we used to have to stand in the cold through.

02/02/2013 at 17:46
Hhmmm, took them for a little run this morning as an experiment and to be honest they weren't that interested. They liked the idea, but even run /walking (letting them run as much at whatever speed and walk as much as they wanted) they'd declared themselves 'bored' by 0.8k! Maybe they just weren't in the mood as they've both done a couple of the very early couch to 5k runs with me and covered at least 2-2.5 km. Not sure they're up to the 5k quite yet.
02/02/2013 at 18:36

I have taken my 5 & 8 year old to a 3k event at xmas which they coped with fine and could have kept going.  My 8 year old will come to Parkruns with me and is very motivated by the idea of getting a special t-shirt after 10 runs. I wouldn't give up on the idea yet, but don't expect to run your normal pace. They could have just been having an off day.  If you really want to get them to do it, buy a couple of cheap medals from your local shoe repair type place, ebay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gold-Silver-Bronze-medals-45mm-with-neck-ribbon-Free-1-insert-centre-/140904412762?pt=UK_SportingGoods_OtherSports&hash=item20ce8eb65a) or a bag of ten plastic ones from Asda and when they finish present them with one each - works with mine everytime.

03/02/2013 at 20:11
Well, as it turns out, the 5 year old wasn't well, so perhaps that was it. I guess we'll see how they feel on the day.
04/02/2013 at 00:13

loads of little ones at MK parkrun, they all seem to love it, and may can beat me too, i'm sure the crowd will be more fun and they will enjoy the morning. if still not convinced the  youngest one will manage, why not one parent volunteer with the 5 year old and cheer mum/dad & sibling on and everyone else too, am sure they would love marshalls , then everyone enjoys the morning without feeling guilty they got bored 

04/02/2013 at 09:25

Lots of Primary kids seem to race our local PR every week but surely that`s not good?! Some do no running apart from a maximal effort in the local park. Also I suspect that 5k is too far for primary kids.

04/02/2013 at 12:19

I am thinking about taking my 6 year old to my local one soon. There is always a fair few kids so should be ok. I think having his own barcode and the whole results thing will motivate him to do it.

He keeps wanting to come on runs with me so I tell him the time to get ready. I then pick him up after my run and we go for a cool down jog 1-2 km. He loves it, you also get some great looks when he is there looking good and I am a sweaty knackered mess next to him.

05/02/2013 at 13:12

My 6 year old comes along with me sometimes to parkrun - he loves it. The atmosphere helps motivate him, and knowing he can beat some of the grown-ups (don't know where he gets his competitiveness from ).  He loves the idea that he can get a t-shirt if he does enough of them.  I only let him do it occasionally though as I appreciate that his bones aren't fully developed yet - 5k every week would be too much.  It helps that our local parkrun is mainly on trails, so a bit softer on his joints than road would be.  We got him a lanyard so he can carry his own barcode, and sometimes he will choose to take some water round too.  We just go at his pace, and he chooses whether he runs or walks.  He had done shorter fun runs before though and regularly watches us at races or helps marshall, so that maybe helped him know what he was in for.  And he loves waiting for the result to come in to see if he has a PB or not!  It might be worth going to the parkrun anyway, then letting them decide once they are there?

08/09/2013 at 15:18

The youngest at Bedford who does the 5k is a four year old. He also is our youngest volunteer too.

All children are welcome at Bedford parkrun whether they run, jog or walk. Those in buggies can come along too but obviously we cannot scan them.

08/09/2013 at 16:45

I still say it is too far. Way too far for a 4 year old. And most parkruns are on hard surfaces.

08/09/2013 at 17:08

Bit late to this one, but one thing I would raise is that the Bedford Parkrun is laps of the park, which is well worth bearing in mind.

I've seen some younger kids start to either tire or get bored, and they start to wander around the path a little, kicking pine cones etc.

Which is fine, except obviously younger kids aren't always endowed with the best in spatial awareness, such as the front-runners haring up on them at full pelt. I've seen some very near misses on that Parkrun.

Personally I'd suggest Huntingdon as a localish alternative - it's a more interesting place for kids anyway, a one-lap run, so no front runners hurdling them, there's a more "fun" finish (downhill, then round the corner for a kick to the line) and the cafe at the end does toast, cakes and ice cream.

Obviously, in Bedford bear in mind that there's the option of just running part of the course and then going about your day. Nothing wrong with a lap-and-a-bit of the park followed by swimming at the nearby baths.

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