Whether you’re walking the half-miler or running the full Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon, this weekends’ weather in the Twin Cities is optimal for a race. I, myself, opted out. Instead, for the past few years I’ve enlisted my 8-year-old, Ava. She ran the half mile last year and the full Diana Pierce Family Mile this year.
With very minimal training – a few milers at her school, Hale, and a once-around Nokomis with me – she was set. The race is celebrating its 30th year. It’s well-organized and was much easier this year as we knew the drill from participating last year. Whomever came up with the idea to get the local schools involved was on to something. The kids talk about it at school, parents get involved and the idea of fitness and fun going hand in hand is planted at an early age.
My 6-year-old didn’t care to be signed up. That’s fine I told him, he could just cheer on his fellow kindergartners. Next year, you can join in.
Parking was free and easy at meters near University and Rice, about a block and a half away from the Capitol grounds. Or you could park for $10 in the lots. Because of the school’s involvement, we picked up her official t-shirt and race number on Friday, saving us a extra trip to St. Paul. Seemingly small detail, but important to busy parents!
Stakes with school names near the Capitol helped students and parents gather. We got there in time to join the 9:40a.m. photo of the kids (note for next time, don’t stand in front of H-A-L-E banner). Then, it was time for kids to split up by school and line up by grade. We walked with Ava and the rest of the third-graders to the start point and wished her luck. For the thousands of people there, it was still easy to get around as well as get a good sight line to the starting point. The first group started at 10:00a.m., followed by staggered starts by grade.
The miler, as do the half mile, 5 and 10K, starts from the same point. Immediately there’s the hill to the St. Paul Cathedral, then a loop around and back down the hill through the finish line. We timed her separately because the starts are so staggered. We think it was under a 9.30 minute mile. She thought she ran faster than her school timed run of 9.11, but she reminded me there were no hills on that run.
The race entry for kids through schools was $10. They got water, bananas, granola bars and chips at the end. We took a few photos, chatted with friends and were back in the car by 10:30. Easy. Then it was breakfast at Mickey’s on West 7th for the racer and us spectators.
She thinks next year, she’ll up her game to the 5k (3.3 miles). For this, I might just have to join her. If we can actually run a similar pace together, that will be a milestone I’ve been looking forward to reaching. And, tomorrow, Sunday, October 2, is the big race day if you’re looking for inspiration for your young runners. Get them out on the course to cheer on the grown-up runners!