‘Go on, my son!’
‘Stick with it!’
‘You’re catching her up!’
‘C’mon – last bit – sprint all the way!’
Now if I’d have recounted shouts heard from the touchline of the game of two halves the list would be somewhat different, I suspect. That’s because this little lot is typical of the sound of grown-up encouragement at kids’ running races.
Last month Knight Stainforth Caravan Park was echoing to just such a chorus as Jill Eccleston www.runbikefun.co.uk and I staged our first family-friendly run-bike-run races of the year.
The 4-6 year olds were off first starting at a full-on sprint as only the little ones do – pace judgment can wait a few years, right? As we went through the age groups a hint of tactical racing brain was glimpsed every now and then, but the dominant trend was that EVERYONE was giving it EVERYTHING they’d got – and of course that included a death-or-glory finishing sprint.
A win bonus?
Lucrative sponsorship endorsement deals on offer to the winners?
No of course there flippin’ wasn’t.
You ran and biked your heart out ‘cos that’s what you do – even if you’d been to football or gymnastics earlier and lunch was two crème eggs and a cheese stick in the car on the way over.
Then it was the turn of the adults. This year we’d added a twist: The Gasper For Grown Ups - A 20 minute continuous run-bike relay that teams could complete in any combination they chose.
‘So who’s up for a relay?’ we shouted.
‘WE ARE!’ shouted back all the kids – who had already raced their socks off – and mumbled some of the half-dressed for action grown-ups. By the time we were ready for the off nearly everyone had been co-opted into a team – pressure is a wonderful thing - and that included watching grandparents whose ‘ready’ was just removing a coat.
Now I’d expected to have a run – and sure enough our youngest (Joe, 6) decided he had energy to spare and would do some more as long as Mummy and Daddy were up for it as well. What I’d not expected was a nowhere-to-hide interval set 4 x 90 seconds-ish absolutely flippin’ flat out with short recoveries. There was some serious gurning and foam-flecked lips going on by the last one, I can tell you!
And so the roles were reversed: Cruising and looking stylish was not an option as the grown ups got a chance to practice doing what they cheer:
Stick with it.
Finish with a sprint.
‘Cos anything else is just wrong – right?