Tristan’s race

A couple of weeks ago, Tristan came home with a permission slip for the running club at school. It said they were preparing for a 5K race in Osgoode, and the kids would be working their way up to the 5k during lunch hours over the next few weeks.

Tristan loves to run, and I am always in favour of finding new ways for the kids to burn off energy, so this sounded like a great idea to me. I have to admit, even when I signed the permission slip, I had vague ideas of backing out of the actual race by the time it came around, but the more Tristan talked about the perks (a t-shirt! a MEDAL!) the more I realized I was firmly committed and should make peace with the sacrifice of a Saturday morning to the run.

I was a little less enthused when a note came home about a week before the run saying that the school couldn’t be responsible for overseeing all the kids during the actual run, and parents were at all times responsible for the supervision of their own kids. Suddenly I was faced with the idea of actually RUNNING the 5K instead of simply spectating it. And I was not amused.

In the days leading up to the race, I resigned myself to donning my trainers and hoping that my weekly trips to the gym would be enough to keep me from embarrassing myself too thoroughly. However, in passing I spoke to one parent who was also spouse of an organizer of the run, and I was assured that he would need no supervision, that the runners were on a closed pathway (the newly minted multi-use pathway in Osgoode) and in fact out of sight for only 10 or 15 minutes. And really, does my lightning-quick 9 year old really need his lumbering mother like a ball around his ankle, slowing him down?

That’s how we found ourselves in Osgoode on Saturday morning, just Tristan and me, in the pouring rain.

Here he is at the starting line, twitching to go. He’s number 52, in the blue jacket.

Goode Run 2 of 6

Did I mention the rain? Not just a sprinkle, either. Driving, cold rain.

Goode Run 3 of 6

They were out of my sight down the path within minutes, but it seemed to take hours for them to run the kilometer or so to one end of the course and turn around. They’d run past the start, run another kilometer or so in the opposite direction, and then back to finish at the same spot they’d started. I peered up the path for what seemed like hours watching for him after the first turn.

Goode Run 4 of 6

He really doesn’t seem to think the whole run thing was such a brilliant plan anymore, does he? Once he saw me, though, he kicked his little engine back into gear.

Goode Run 5 of 6

I’m sure a week passed, maybe two, before the runners made the final turn of the circuit and headed back to the finish. I was wet and I’d been hiding under an umbrella. As the first runners crossed the finish line, I peered up the path watching for Tristan and staked a strategic spot for myself at the finish line. When he finally approached, I was so excited for him I almost forgot to take a picture. This is about four feet from the finish line.

142:365 Goode Run (1 of 6)

I honestly thought my heart would burst from pride. It’s one thing to run on a warm sunny spring day, but this was the most sucky day imaginable, and his determination never wavered.

Goode Run 6 of 6

He crossed the finish line in 30:52. Was it really only half an hour? Because it seemed about five times that long. He was wet and dirty, red-cheeked and sweaty, but rather than beaming in pride, he was rather stoic about his accomplishment. Between you and me, I think it was way harder and way less fun than he’d imagined.

He’s the introvert to my extravert, but he’s got his mother’s need for external validation, and when I realized that there were no medals to be had, I thought we were in real trouble. No medals? The only reason he ran was so he could get a medal. Lucky for me, he’s also got his mother’s short attention span, and a medal was easily substituted by the promise of a stuffed yellow Pikachu he’d been coveting. He certainly earned it.

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

9 thoughts on “Tristan’s race”

  1. It could be the start of something bigger! Lee-Ann and I are out your way May 24-30 as we are camping out in advance of the Ottawa Marathon May 29 (more info: For the kids, they can run the equivalent of 41 kms in the weeks preceding and run the “last 1.195 km of their marathon and finish down the same route the Ottawa Marathon runners”. I’m looking forward to just about everything except the 7a start time for this, my first, full marathon. And yes, all finishers do get a medal for this one!

  2. Kudos for Tristan for signing up for the race and for completing it. It was so miserable yet he remained committed. He should be very proud of his accomplishment and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another post about this race, with Tristan in it, come this time next year. Let’s hope for a sunny day for that one ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I am so so so looking forward to these moments with my boys ๐Ÿ™‚ And I will shamelessly admit I’m a little envious of his time…my fastest for a 5K is 33.

  4. Wow! Good for him. I can’t wait for my one daughter to be old enough to do this. She is such a runner. At er school they start this type of activity in grade 3 which I think is s shame because she would love to do it now.


  5. Cute story: Stella keeps telling me she needs to practice her running because her and Tristan are neck and neck during the races the group of them do at recess. Apparently her and Tristan are the leads but always end up tied with other for first place. Last night she tells me, “The problem is that Tristan is practicing as much as I am, so we’re both improving at the same pace, so we’re always still tied.” She also told me that he runs “marathons.” The earnestness of kids just melts my heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

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