Sunday, August 7, 2016

That one time as front runner and torch bearer...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of combining two worlds for a fun event. I worked with my town's public library to host a fun run/walk as an event in support of the summer reading program theme "Get Ready, Get Set, Read." The slogan lends itself to sports and activity, so many months ago when it was announced, I put a bug in the ear of my children's librarian friend, Miss Lisa, that a fun run/walk would be a nice "active" event that could tie in. I offered my services to be the lead runner and help folks know the route to follow.
She settled on a date, and as the date inched closer, I kept coming up with ideas for them to incorporate. (I know, so nice of me, right? :)) To tie in with the first day of the Olympic Games, they made sure to have finishers medals to hand out, a must at any race. A table with cold water and Goldfish crackers was set up for post-race recovery, also a must because everyone wants a cold drink after running on a hot day. And finally, they put together some anthemic music to get everyone pumped up, always a hit at any starting line.
The event ended up being very fun! I gathered the small but enthusiastic crowd together on the back lawn of the library for a few sun salutations to gently stretch before we lined up. The kids were so funny doing the yoga, complaining that their hands or legs were hurting depending on whether we were in upward or downward dog position. 
Starting line for the library's Fun Run/Walk
After stretching, we headed to the starting line for a few last minute instructions and safety tips. Kids, stay with your grown ups! Keep to the sidewalk. Make sure you wait for the police officers to give you the go-ahead before crossing the street. I had my homemade Olympic torch in my hand and was ready to lead the charge. Right after one traditional starting line selfie. 
Our race crowd...pre-race selfie!
And then we were off. As with most kid-friendly races/runs, the kids shot off like a bolt of blue. They were sprinting their fastest, and I tried my best to keep up. I had given the disclaimer to the crowd that I was the lead runner, but that I wasn't the fastest runner by any means, so that if anyone wanted to get ahead of me, that was fine. Well, those little kids definitely took me up on that!
However, once we left the library property and entered the front sidewalk on Middle Road, most of the littles had to slow down to catch their breath. I was left up in front with two older kids and one fellow runner, a dad. These kids were terrific runners. It wasn't easy to keep up with them, but I managed it and chatted with them and the dad along the way. The dad runs full marathons, so we chatted a little about our race experiences. 
At the first main street crossing on to South Road, the boys dropped back a little, and I was on my own. My goal was just to give folks a visual as to where to run/walk, in case they were unfamiliar with the neighborhood. The front runner, so to speak. My first time ever in that role. It felt great, although the morning was very humid. I was super sweaty as I finished up the 1.3 mile loop back at the library grounds. 
It was fun watching the other participants come in to the finish line, including my own kids and husband. Thanks for running, guys! I helped hand out medals to the finishers while children's librarian Miss Kristin took photos. One little kid somersaulted over the finish line. What a way to end! 
The whole event was done start to finish in about an hour, and some families lingered at the library playground after. It was a healthy, feel-good way to start the morning. If you are from Connecticut, take a look to see if your local library is offering any active programming this summer in connection with the summer reading theme. Get ready, get set....

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