Taking kids to a ParkRun

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08/09/2013 at 20:45

My 6 yo did a parkrun this summer and loved it! He took 34 minutes and chatted to his dad the whole way around. I think as long as they don't race it, then it's OK for them to run the distance. I know UK athletics don't usually allow kids to run this distance but bend the rules for parkrun as it's not classed as a race. I think as long as they can chat while they run, then it's good for them to do. There is actually a 9 year old girl in my local one who was the first woman a few weeks ago with a time of 20 minutes. So glad I didn't run it that day!

24/05/2016 at 00:23

Old thread, I know, but ironically i just found my own thread whilst googling how far/often a child ought to run! So, to update, we never did do that Parkrun in Bedford 3 years ago, and I haven't run much in the last 2 or so years, BUT I'm getting back to it and my 8 year old (the 5 year old from the original post!) is quite keen to accompany me. We now have 2 Parkruns nearby and we did one of them on Saturday. Husband ran it himself, followed by the now 11 year old (husband offered to run with him, but he said he'd rather go at his own pace) - very proud that he managed to walk/run round it himself, his first attempt at running, in 42 minutes. The now 8 year old and I have had a little bit of practice as he's quite keen to come out on runs with me, but when it came to it he chattered the whole way round and we walked large amounts of it, so took 45 minutes (which is absolutely fine).  But this evening we've been out again and done 5k with only 5minute's walk in the middle, so we're getting towards running the whole thing. 

What I'm now wondering, is how often an 8 year old ought to do this. I was happy enough for him to run with me this evening as a LOT of Saturday's run was walked and we won't be going next Saturday due to other commitments. But I'm assuming that in general running the Parkrun on Saturday and then an early evening run on Monday or Tuesday would be too much for an 8 year old's joints and bones even if he is keen? Is there any evidence about this? Anyone got any experience?

24/05/2016 at 07:32
Hi Shona, good to hear you're still keen to run with your children.

I'm not sure if your local park run does it but in my area we have a kids only version which might be more suitable for your 8 year old


and if that is available in your area, be a good starting point.

And if its not available, why not get involved in setting a similar run up in whichever of the ParkRuns is nearest/best for you?
Cheerful Dave    pirate
24/05/2016 at 09:48

Shona, from my experience it's not the running per se that causes problems, but combined with phases of rapid growth there can be joint issues, particularly ankles and knees (the obvious ones I guess).  Put simply, the grow so quickly that tendons don't keep up, causing pain when running.  That was the problem my boy had anyway - no problems running parkrun regularly when he was younger, but when he was 11 he started to get knee pains.  Stretching helped, but the long-term solution was to lay off running while his growth was quickest.  He's fine now, he's 13 and taller than I am so hopefully no more growth spurts!

Caveat - the parkrun he does is off-road, so a bit easier with impacts than one on tarmac.  I'm not sure if that made it easier when he was younger - most of the youngsters seem to have a better running style with less heel strike than many of the adults!

24/05/2016 at 15:26

I was also going to recommend junior parkrun - only 2k, which you can walk in 20 mins if necessary, and the parents can either volunteer as marshals or go round with their kids. Lots of them in the MK/Aylesbury/Buckingham area.

04/06/2016 at 21:11

Thanks for the replies. We don't have a junior parkrun anywhere near us, and to be honest the appeal of them running parkrun for me is that I can run at the same time. if they ran a junior one then one or other of us couldn't run the 5k one as we'd have to watch them. I just don't want to be encouraging them to do something that's not good for them. 

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