I recently had a really great day with my family at the Mission Inn Run in Riverside, CA and I thought I would take a minute to write about it. If my story inspires anyone to do something similar then I would be really happy. If anyone has done something similar then I would love to hear about it.
It all started with a call from my sister asking if my family would like to join hers in the Mission Inn 5K run. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun so we decided to make it an event for the whole family. My two sisters, my brother-in-law, my mom, and my 12 and 14 year old sons registered for the 5K while our 4 youngest registered for the kids races. Of course I had fun telling everyone I had to take one for the team! If I didn't sit this one out, who'd watch the kids while the adults ran the 5K…right? And who'd be the official family photographer?
The afternoon before the event we went to the Mission Inn so everyone could pick up their T-shirts and bibs. This was one of my favorite parts of the whole event because all of the runners, even the kids, got a T-shirt, a bib with their own number and a backpack with trail mix, snacks and promotional materials. It was just like getting goody bags at a party!
As anyone with kids knows, it can be like herding cats to get a family moving in the morning and we had to be there by 7:00 am. I was going to be armed and ready! By the time I went to bed, I had water, crackers, cookies and fruit in my bag and ready to grab-n-go!
On Sunday, we woke up bright and early and arrived at the Mission Inn right on time. It was so fun to see my kids and their cousins excited about spending the day together. The first event was the 5K. With my wagon and the younger cousins in tow, we headed for the finish line to cheer on the family. There we all were, snacks in hand and just enjoying the moment when my nephew yelled, “Hey look!” He was pointing to my oldest son about to complete the race! We all started screaming encouraging comments and he of course ignored us (pretty normal for a 14 yr old!), but it was great to see the small kids cheering him on. Three minutes later, we saw my 12 year old approach the finish line. We all screamed and cheered as loud as we could as he picked up the pace toward the end.
The next person we saw was my brother-in-law. It was fun just to watch his kids. My proud nephews screamed and shouted like crazy as their dad ran across the finish line. (As we all did of course!) When my sister approached, my nephews clapped their hands as loud as they could. My mom and my younger sister came across the finish line a short time later. Not bad for their first 5K run/walk!
Time for the Kids Races! My 5 and 7 year old nephews were first up with the 1K. These two have run several 1K races but never with such a huge fan club cheering them on. I think the adults were having more fun than the kids. People at the finish line were cheering for runners regardless of whether they knew them or not. If someone looked like they were struggling, everyone’s cheers would give them a little boost. It was obvious where each runner’s family was standing because you could hear where the loudest screams were coming from as their kids approached and crossed the finish line. My whole family cheered as each one of my nephews ran toward the finish line. They were delighted as they looked up and heard us cheering them on with words of encouragement. Our shouts gave them a little extra energy to finish the tiniest bit quicker.
Finally we got to the much anticipated 1/2K. My 4 year old daughter and her 6 year cousin were so excited. My sister and 12 yr old son were running with them in case they needed a little bit of guidance while the rest of us stood near the finish line to cheer them and take pictures. When we finally saw them approaching, we were already pros at bringing the runners home. My nephew actually waved at us as if we were fans rather than family. I don’t remember what my daughter did but I do remember her smiling from ear to ear when it hit her that she was actually the one being cheered for, just as she had cheered for everyone else earlier. If I had to put her expression into words, it would be “You like me. You really like me.”
Overall, it was a great day and something we'd definitely do again. My kids have walked a couple of 5Ks with me, but never with the whole family. If you haven’t done something like this before then I'd encourage you to try it. The adults had fun, the kids had fun and nobody got hurt or in trouble. Come to think of it, I don’t even think any of the kids argued with each other.
When the races were over, I glanced at my phone and couldn't believe it was only 11:30 in the morning. I have fibromyalgia so my legs were tired from standing so long. I couldn't wait to get home and off my feet. I was hoping the kids were as tired as I was. No such luck! As soon as everyone was buckled in, I heard, “Mom, I’m hungry”.