Now that summertime is upon us, ‘tis the season to get running! Summers are filled with running events of all varieties- everything from full marathons to 5k fun runs. Running a race with your family is a great way to stay fit, expose the kids to an active healthy lifestyle and to raise funds and awareness for charitable causes.
Participating in a race as a family can be a fun bonding experience with all members included if you look for a few key things before you register for an event. Of course most kids won’t be able to run the longer distance races and not all running events are created to be family friendly.
Take a look at some ways races can be an enjoyable experience for everyone:
Race Distances for All!
Of course the main attraction of signing up for a race is the run. Not everyone in your family may want to run the same distance so look for an event that offers a selection of race lengths and competitive levels. A fun-run of 5 km may be the perfect length for all family members but there are also plenty of races out there that offer a half marathon for mom looking to achieve a lifelong fitness goal, a 4 mile run for dad who is getting back into shape and even a 400 m dash for the kids to run their wiggles out!
An event that offers a variety of distances is also perfect for beginning runners as there is likely a distance they are comfortable working up to without over-doing it.
Running Events Just for Kids
The best way to get kids excited about running is for them to experience the excitement and sense of accomplishment first- hand! Many running events offer races specially tailored for children of all ages- from a diaper derby race for toddlers and crawlers, to a 400 meter dash for young kids and even a 1 mile fun-run for older kids who can go the distance. Receiving a t-shirt or a medal for participating is common and a special memento for them to remember the day.
Strollers and Fido Allowed
Fun for the entire family may mean bringing the baby and Fido along. But there is nothing fun about showing up for a race with your little ones in tow and discovering that strollers and/ or dogs are not allowed. Many of the more competitive races don’t allow dogs or strollers for safety reasons so if you are looking for an event where you can run with your little person in the jogger or your fluffy friend on a leash be sure to check the rules of the race before registering, often listed under FAQ.
Unique and Fun Race Activities
To stand out from the hundreds of other races out there, event coordinators look for fun and unique post- race activities to add to their event. Food trucks and farmers markets will satisfy your post-race hunger. There is nothing better than a post-race beer or mimosa! The kids can make a sign to cheer on mom at a craft station or burn off the rest of their never- ending energy at a carnival, bouncy house or even a concert. There are no shortage of ways to continue having fun together after the race!
Good Karma of Charity
With all of the activities that make a race a fun experience, it is easy to forget about the charitable cause the proceeds are supporting. Choosing to run for a cause you support is a fantastic way to introduce your children to charity and teach them about others who are less fortunate. Little ones can easily pick out canned goods to bring to a food drive and listen to the reasons it is important to help others. If your family is looking for a charity to support together, finding a race that supports a cause you can get behind year round and involve your children in is a great way to do it!
Okay! Ready…..Set….Get out there and run!
Photos: rr_graphic_design/ Flickr & Paul-W/ Flickr