My girlfriend used to consider herself as a running widow and there have been, on occasions, a few curses directed at me at 5am on a Sunday morning, as I prepare for that day’s race or long run.
I would always try to be stealthy, but a ninja, I am not. As I searched for socks, fumbled for watches, gathered change, decided upon shoes and went to the toilet for the umpteenth time (just in case) I made enough noise to awaken the dead, or result in threats upon my life.
And if I wasn’t out running, I was thinking and writing about running. Or I was buying running gear. My girlfriend and boys would drone with displeasure as our weekend walks always seemed to navigate towards a running or sports shop.
But now, we all run and if anything, my running needs are now secondary, for I have created a monster. Fresh from her Women’s 10K, Teresa signed up for the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run 10K and is planning on a running vacation next year. She is even packing running shoes on business trips. I might even be able to buy her the Great Scotland Run Season Ticket for her Christmas and not end up spending Boxing Day sleeping on the couch.
My Garmin has become our Garmin (another Christmas gift?) and while the boys were away (with grandparents) Friday night date night became Friday night run night. And, on their return, they reluctantly joined us on our evening runs. Seeing as you are reading a running blog, I am going to hope that you all view this as responsible parenting and not cruel and unusual punishment.
This progressed to them both signing up for their school running club, at which I coach and ultimately them signing up (or being signed up) for the Bank Of Scotland Great Scottish Junior Run, along with hundreds of other children taking part in the Family Mile and the Toddler Dash (is there anything more cute than a group of toddlers dashing in the diapers?).
On Saturday, the young team had taken over our George Square and again, my boys were coerced into attending after Friday night sleepovers (no sleep was involved) and school camps, with bribery in the form of new running attire. However, I’d like to think that they are growing to enjoy running, or at least the cakes they get after a run. Like many of the children participating they revelled in the competition and were beaming with pride at getting their medals (the joy of bling has no age limit), vowing to run faster next year.
As a physical activity activist, getting our children running more is something that I am passionate about and you can’t have missed the news about the Pride of Britain Award winning teacher and her Stirling school’s Daily Mile. By encouraging their children to run a mile at school each day, the children are healthier and more alert and focused. Similar schemes are cropping up across Scotland and I am delighted to be a part of our weekly programme at Battlefield Primary.
Running is an activity that is available to the whole family and having superstars such as Jo Pavey, Edna Kiplagat and Paula Radcliffe inspiring the kids to run, on Friday and Saturday, there is genuine hope for the future.
Callum Hawkins coming 2nd in the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run half marathon is also a great advert for Scottish running and how many of the young club runners are inspired by his achievements? I know that my own boy is still going on about his visit to Great Run Local (open to accompanied children over 5 years old).
And talking of achievements, I am sure Paula Radcliffe will not accept full credit, but on Sunday there was another amazing first. In the 10k event; there were more women than men participating. Encouraging more women to run is a long-term goal of Great Run and Paula Radcliffe. And it seems, in Glasgow, we are (s)miles better.
Turn up at a running club or event and you’ll notice the numbers of both women and children (and even dogs) increasing. This isn’t just good for running. It is great for our health and our society.
So here is my challenge. If you are a teacher, parent, running club official or jogscotland jog leader, speak to each other. Set up a Daily Mile or running club at your local primary school. Take them out with you on your runs. Join a Great Run Local. Make running a part of your family’s day.
Encourage and enthuse the children and get them excited about next year’s Great Scottish Run and come along and enjoy a day out as a family.