Ipswich Junior parkrun
If your kids can’t wait to get up on Sundays what better way to burn some of that energy but by running around the park with other kids? Now that spring is around the corner why not give Ipswich Junior parkrun a go. Junior parkrun is a FREE initiative ran by volunteers every Sunday at 9.00 am at Christchurch Park. The run is aimed at 4-14 year old, the course is 2km in distance made up of 2 laps of 1km and the meeting area is by the Cabman's Shelter at the top end of the park by the Westerfield Road entrance. If you have any questions please go to the Ipswich Junior parkrun Facebook page or to their website. Junior parkrun is an exciting way to introduce our kids to running. Since young children are not ready for structured training or the stress that come with competition, parkrun provides the perfect motivational platform for kids to want to run, it makes it fun, gives them time spent with mum or dad and makes it a fun time with friends. Running also provides the foundation to excel in any other sport your kids enjoy. Running Times writes:
With friends, kids are anchored, secure, comfortable and ready to be engaged. Without them, kids are uncertain and less ready to take on new challenges.
A secure course for kids to run
If your child or yourself are unsure you can run along with them, although it is perfectly safe for them to run on their own. There are marshals covering the route to make sure all the kids are safe. After a nice run there are a few treats waiting for the kids, many stick around and have a little play in the playground. Make sure you register and print out your barcode which you must bring with you on the day. Times are available on the website. Please consider helping the event by volunteering - this event survives only because of your generosity. Please visit the volunteer page for more information or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What mums say:
"Ted loves it. I think what he likes best is that it's his chance to join in with a hobby that he sees me doing and gets to run with me and with lots of his friends too. I love it because it's part of a healthy lifestyle and is making exercise a normal regular thing we do. I think it's brilliant how the kids are encouraged to race against their own times and are not competitive at all with each other but really supportive of each other instead. We will keep it up as a regular fun part of our weekend". ~Sarah "What I love about both Parkrun and junior parkrun is its inclusiveness. No one minds whether you are first or last, it's all about participation, getting active and hopefully having fun. Findlay loves it because he gets to run with his friends and with me as well. I hope that both my boys will see that sport and exercise is fun as a result of going, and alongside seeing me and their dad being active, will encourage them to do the same in the long term. Junior parkrun is a non competitive, safe and fun environment in which to take regular exercise. Plus I love that the entire parkrun organisation is voluntary. I love helping out and intend to do so for the long term"~ Heather " My boys love Parkrun. Sure it will become a regular activity they do at the weekend. My oldest is even taking part in the adult Parkrun and is using it for his training towards the Cross Country comp in march" ~ Jem
How to make running fun for the kids
We are giving our kids a chance to start a sport they might stick with in the long run. Apart from the health benefits that comes with running such as developing healthy bones and muscles, it helps to control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, running just makes them good all-rounded happy kids!
Running Times wrote a very interesting article called How to Teach Kids to Love Running, the article suggests to make it all about having fun and give some great ideas on just how to do this:
Instead of just running laps, set up a playground obstacle course; plan a Scavenger Hunt Run in a local park; do continuous relays to set team records for how many miles or laps completed; have a pajama run or a flashlight run; host a kids pentathlon; do a Prediction Run or a running version of King-on-the-Mountain. And don’t forget simple games like an Indian run or a running version of Red Light, Green Light or Simon Says. They will get the kids laughing, even the older ones. If the kids greet each other after a run by giving each other high-fives and chest bumps, are cheering for each other, or staying around after each run is finished, then whatever effort is being made to make running fun is probably working. Keep it up!
For more great ideas take a look at The Center for Children's Running tips on how to Make Running Fun for kids. Remember, make it fun not competitive, have a laugh! Junior parkrun is the perfect place to start!