On July 14, 2018, Ada and I visited Longwood Elementary for their 5k Race. Their 5k race coincided with the school district’s YEP Olympics, so an abundance of other kids were ready to participate in the event as well. The course for the race consisted of 12 laps around the school’s grass field. Although some of the kids from the actual running program were not participating, I was astounded at how ready the other kids were to run.
The kids were pumped. Not until the call for “GO!” did the kids finally get to release their pent-up adrenaline and excitement. Most of them started to sprint their fastest for a few hundred meters. I shook my head, recognizing the kids’ lacking attempt to pace. Despite being tired, when the kid’s advanced towards the finish line, which signaled the end of a lap, they immediately sped up, encouraged by the supporting cries and cheers of the full crowd. Lap by lap, the kids persevered. I continued to cheer on the runners for their great effort.
Behind the scenes, we worked on distributing the shoes to the corresponding kid or parent, readying the medals, and guiding other staff members and parents about the event.
Six laps in, one could recognize the fatigue settling in on the runners’ forms and pace. I appreciated the support of other students, parents, and staff members who came to cheer, the adults who insistently passed out cups of water to the runners, and booming music from behind.
The race came to a close as the runners started to finish up their final lap. We placed medals around the necks of joy-filled runners. Their relieved faces flushed with smiles and sweat as they rejoined with their family and shared their accomplishment.
I am proud to be a part of one of many important moments in these kids’ lives. Hopefully this will further their path into a healthy lifestyle or a possible running career!