Forecast of rain threatened today’s big event for my kindergartener. Yet the sun peeked through the stormy clouds and delayed the downpour indicating a go for this morning’s Ultra Fun Run – a jog-a-thon fundraiser program held annually at the school. The kindergarten class started practicing for this day back in September where they all lined up at 8am and run/walk as many laps they could for 5 to 10 minutes. I loved watching their tiny feet scurry, right-left right-left, breathing in the morning air and awakening their minds before the start of a busy school day. The run was originally scheduled in mid-October but was postponed due to rain. Some of the kids, including my daughter were so disappointed when they discovered it had to be rescheduled. Much anticipation has built up to this day and I was relieved to see the sun shining!
Part of the “Fun” incorporated into this run is being doused by different colors. However, my daughter did not perceive the color as fun and wanted nothing to do with it. I reminded her to speak out regarding her aversion to the colors but all it did was build up her anxiety – she was “worried she is going to forget to say NO to the colors”. As it turned out, all she needed to do was cross her arms and I reminded her every lap to do it.
Standing in the grassy field, the kids waited patiently for the indication to start. They had 30 minutes to run as many laps (the most time Eyva has ever ran!) The emcee directed them to start walking first, then gradually speed up to a jog/run. I was standing by Eyva’s class when they started but as they moved further away to run the lap, it became more difficult for me to spot her as there were at least 100 participants from kindergarten to 2nd grade . This time my anxiety grew since Eyva is the smallest girl in class and I was afraid she will get trampled by the bigger kids. However, each lap she ran past me unscathed and focused to do more. Her motivation dwindled a little after several laps but I provided an incentive by giving her an M&M (halloween candy stash). Sugar = energy right!?…
As I watched these young children run, I noticed their playfulness and carefree attitude. Many enjoyed being covered in color and ran as quickly as they could to be doused with more. Some held hands with their friends, walked, and cherished a fun moment together. And a few were completely focused to run as many laps as time allowed.
Being a mother runner, I was delighted to see the kids have the opportunity to experience a Fun Run. We all know the importance of exposing children to physical activity especially as they age and most of their day is spent inside a classroom. Through this experience, hopefully they as well as their parents will be inspired and motivated to incorporate a bit of active play in their everyday lives.