Saturday, 9 August 2014

Perth Kilt Run 2014

Sophie: Chip Time: 0:42:07  Chip Position: 623
Daddy: Chip Time: 0:42:08  Chip Position: 625

This post is a bit more different than usual, as today I have a special guest blogger. Her name is Sophie and she is just five years old. Sophie has entered several races in the past and has now earned the respectable total of four medals. I have recently been in correspondence with Santa and I'm led to believe that she may even receive her own pink medal rack as one of her Christmas presents. When I asked her if she would like to take part in the Perth Kilt Run, she was really excited, I think this was more due to getting to wear a pink kilt and the promise of an ice cream afterwards, rather than the running itself. However, true to her word, when the day arrived we got dressed, dropped off my two year old son, Jack, with his grandparents and set off to the North Inch. My partner Clare was coincidentally face painting at the same event, so we helped her set up her stall. Much to Sophie's delight it was in-between a magician and a juggling workshop.

Sophie psyching herself up for the run.
After a quick trip back to the car to fetch some water, we attached the timing chips to our trainers, our numbered bibs to our tshirts and then headed back to the North Inch to join the awaiting crowds. Last year I had run this fun run dressed as a Golden Eagle, along with four other 'animals', to help promote Scotland's Big5. Sophie was too young to join me as the minimum age limit is five years old. So instead, she adorned her pink cowgirl hat and pom-poms and came along to cheer me on. I was pleased that this year was the first year she could actually take part.

The Golden Eagle with his chick.

"Fly Eagle, Fly!"

Sophie was excited to see Hairy McKilty and all the other mascots and also really enjoyed listening to the bongo drum band. She had asked to borrow my mp3 player to help with her running, I don't normally allow her do this in case it were to damage her fragile little ears, but on this occasion, as an incentive I agreed and locked it on a low volume. The furthest she had ever previously run without stopping was just over one mile, so the step up to a 5k was a bit of a challenge. This didn't bother either of us as we both knew that if she got tired daddy would pick her up and carry her for as long as necessary.

"Faster Dad, Faster!"

After not too long, we were off. I felt really proud and emotional running alongside my little girl. For the first mile she managed a solid run, but then she spoke the sentence I always knew would come but was dreading: "Daddy, are we nearly finished?". "Eh, em, yes Sophie, nearly. Well kind of.", I replied. I'm not sure she believed me! Anyway, after another half mile of run/walking, I asked if she would like me to carry her, at which she gleefully nodded. Carrying a five year old on your shoulders whilst running can be quite challenging. I'd previously run the Kelty Coal Race, which involved carrying almost eight stone of coal on your back over the course of a kilometer. Whilst Sophie only weighed 3½ stone and was a lot softer than coal, I still found this tough going. If I was asked which is easier, running with a sack of coal or Sophie on my back, my response would be, Sophie, but sacks of coal are a lot less bossy.

A very proud dad crossing the finish line with his daughter.

As we approached the last 300m, after some mild encouragement, Sophie asked that I put her down as she wanted to run the last section and cross the finish line herself. I eagerly obliged and together we ran down the home straight and crossed the finish line with cheers from the spectators. After collecting our medals and goodie bags we headed off to meet Clare to tell her all about our adventure.
From there, I then headed straight over to Giffordtown in Fife to run the 6k road race that afternoon, the penultimate race of the 2014 Tour of Fife.

Another reason I love running, is that I think it sets a great example to my children. Playing video games and watching films have their place, but I want to bring my children up to know that this should always be balanced with regular exercise. They should never be afraid to expand their boundaries either physically or mentally. Running requires both. Something I think Sophie is already beginning to understand.

Bye, bye!
Postscript: Many details for this blog entry came directly from Sophie's memory of the event, she also typed it up, whilst I was made to meticulously point at every key. The joys of fatherhood, I wouldn't change it for the world.