I am a runner. I began running when I was 7 or 8 years old when my dad would enter me into local 2 mile and 5k races. My love of running continued into high school and college where I ran track and cross country. And it continues today with anything from 5k’s to marathons. Naturally, as a parent, I want to share this passion of mine with my daughters, so like my dad did with me, I started entering them in races at an early age (3-4’ish). Being so young, I have limited their racing to shorter distances, ranging from kid dashes to 1 milers. But as they age, and if they are still interested, I will enter them into longer races.
I believe that distance running is an excellent sport, not only for the physical benefits but because of the mental benefits as well. It teaches one discipline and perseverance; is a great stress reliever; and through running clubs, provides fellowship and community. It is also a lifetime sport that can be performed practically anywhere and anytime. If you think that your child (or yourself) might be interested in running, here are some recommendations for ways to begin.
Running is always easier with a friend or a group. The best way to enter into the local running community is through one of the many local running stores – Columbus Running Company, Second Sole, Frontrunner, and Fleet Feet. These stores support training groups of all ages and speeds and can also assist you in finding the right running shoes and gear. In addition to weekly running groups, many of them also host youth running programs.
- Grasshoppers: Hosted by Columbus Running Company, this local program focuses on kids, grades 3rd – 6th. With three distinct seasons – spring, summer, and fall – kids of varied experience can train and participate in both road and track races.
- Girls on the Run: This is a national program for girls in 3rd – 8th While the program curriculum trains the participants over several months with an end goal of completing a 5k, the mission is much more than that. The focus is less on the running and more on inspiring young girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident.
- Fast Rabbit Running Club: This program, run by Fleet Feet, is designed for boys and girls, grades 3rd – 8th. It emphasizes regular physical activity, proper running form, and healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Since many of these programs focus on older kids, below are some recommendations for shorter races that are ideal for the younger runners in your family. Also, check your local store for a comprehensive list.
Zoo Run-Run 5k & Kid Ele-Fun-Run: This is an inaugural event consisting of a 5k or ¼ mile kid run. The registration includes a zoo pass for the day, or if you are a member you will get a discount on the race registration. Race day is May 20, 2018.
Hoka One Columbus 10k: This is the oldest race in the city and in addition to the 10k, the event hosts a kid’s race that is approximately 1 kilometer (0.6 miles). This distance is nice because it is longer than a sprint, but not so long that smaller kids cannot complete it. Race day is June 3, 2018.
MommyMile: Mommymile is a unique 5k or 1-mile run/walk event for anyone who wants to honor and celebrate motherhood. The family-friendly after-party includes live music, swag bag with coupons, complimentary rose and champagne toast, a participant medal, games for children, food, and more. Race day is June 10, 2018.
Lemon Trails 5K Run/Walk: This family-friendly run/walk raises funds to help support pediatric cancer research through Alex’s Lemonade Stand. The run begins and ends at Hoffman Trails Elementary in Hilliard, Ohio. Race day is June 16, 2018.
Chole 5K: Run or push a stroller in this race. Funds raised from the 5K event go towards providing further support and programming to teen moms and their children in Franklin County. Race day is June 30, 2018.
CRC Mile Dash: In celebration of its anniversary every year, Columbus Running Company hosts a one-mile run. With three separate heats for elites, kids and adults, this race is a great challenge for kids who are not ready for a 5k, or who want to test their speed at a shorter distance. Race day is July 14, 2018.
Dash for Donation: There are different race options available including a family fun walk, kids & mascot dash, 5K and 5K team challenge. This race is presented by Lifeline of Ohio to promote organ, eye and tissue donation. Race day is July 14, 2018.