Things were not looking promising the night before. The big girl had been down with a bad cough for a few days and the little one still had not fallen asleep when the clock struck midnight. All the commotion made me so awake and after everyone slept, I just couldn't fall asleep and decided to watch Vampire Diaries instead.
Were we going to make it? Call it experience or confidence, one way or the other, I was still pretty sure we would.
Anyway, the three of us alighted first and we were thankful to see that the weather was good. Both the kids were jumping with excitement and they had their light breakfast - a few mouths of bread, banana and Milo - along the journey. So when we arrived at the entrance of The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay, we were all ready to start the day!
The place was bustling with people and it was not difficult to spot the tentage where participants were supposed to queue up for the races. Announcements were clearly and repeatedly made to inform people of which race was going to be next. Each race was also colour coded so you could only enter if you were wearing the corresponding coloured race bib.
Yippee! It was going to be the toddler's first run! After having been a cheerleader at the sideline for the past two years, I was really thrilled for her that she could finally be in her own run. Of course, I wanted to be the one right beside her on this special occasion too and was glad that we were going to be in the Jolly Kiwi Family Fun Run (for 2-4 years old) as mother and daughter.
So, we were all set for the horn to sound! I have to tell you that I'm always amazed by the sheer number of parents and children who take part in these races. Yes, it's definitely good to know that we are not the only family who loves running!
On your mark, get set, GO! Our run started! It was awesome seeing so many other toddlers in the run with us but I soon realised many of them were being carried by the parents and started to worry if the toddler would want the same. Indeed, she initially seemed a little overwhelmed by everything that was happening, kept getting distracted and finally decided to raise her both arms, ran to me and said "I want Mummy carry."
Sisters reunite! These two were happy to be together again and of course, they showed each other their newly earned medals!
Now, if you can't see from the pictures, it was truly a scorching hot day and everyone was perspiring profusely under the sun. What would be best thing to happen after the run? Imagine some cold orange juice, fresh fruits and even a breakfast buffet including pancakes, hashbrowns, sausages and eggs? Heavenly. Thanks to the event organiser ESG, we were invited as VIPs this year and had a wonderful reception waiting for us and our tummies.
Now they say that second time makes you wiser, I think we gained quite a bit of experience from taking part in so many family runs. So, here are some tips we have to share if you are considering joining one soon too!
Tips for taking part in family runs
1) Remember to bring your race bibs
Participants will not be allowed to join the run if they are not wearing these race bibs, so never, ever forget to bring them. Pack them into the bag the night before, check that everyone's bib is intact and put on the bibs early on the day itself to avoid fumbling at the last minute.
2) Bring a small, easier to carry bag
If both parents are going to be running with the kids and you have no one help to look after your belongings, choose a bag that you are most comfortable to run with. The hubby takes a small backpack while I use a shoulder sling pouch. Make sure you have your mobile phones with you so that you can reach your spouse in the case that you fail to meet at the finishing line.
3) Have some light breakfast
While you should not have a heavy breakfast, it's also not advisable to run on an empty stomach. This is especially so for kids who will need energy to make it through the run. If you can, prepare some snacks or food the night before or wake up earlier on the day itself to do so. If you can't, buy some bread, biscuits, fruits or finger food beforehand and even if the kids only take a few bites, it's better than not eating at all.
4) Bring extra clothes, caps and sunscreen
Regardless of whether it's a hot or rainy day, chances are your child will have a wet shirt halfway through the run so a change of clothes will be handy. I also let them put on sunscreen before the run and ask them to wear their caps when it gets really sunny. Well, the good thing is we dump some of these into the car so we do not have to carry all of them. If you are not driving, then try to bring along lightweight clothes, a small bottle of sunscreen and let them wear their caps.
5) Arrive ahead of time
As mentioned, if your run is not scheduled as one of the earlier runs, then you will likely find that you cannot find a parking lot when you arrive. Yes, it's usually the case of the later you arrive, the further away you will have to park. So, it does help to plan ahead and try your best to arrive earlier so you can secure a parking lot. If you are not driving and decide to come by public transport, make sure you know your route well and leave ample time for travelling or last minute delays as you really do not wish to be late and miss the run.
6) Be dressed in comfortable attire
This might seem as logical and straightforward, but when you have kids to look after especially those who prefer to pick out their own outfits, it's better if you decide and agree on the attire beforehand. This will include footwear, socks and bottoms since you will be dressed in the event t-shirts which were collected with the goodie bags. (The collection takes place 1-2 weeks before the event, check that you have the right sized shirts and right race bibs.) Ensure that the kids are comfortable to run in their shoes as these can either make or break the will to run.
7) Water is everywhere
I've realised that in all these races, mineral water bottles and even isotonic ones are given out generously to all the participants so there is no worry of dehydration. In case you are wondering, yes, there are plenty of portable toilets too. Unless there is a special beverage that your child really needs, if not, there is no need to carry a huge water bottle and increase your load.
8) Give pep talks and heartfelt praises
I find that it's better to prepare your child in advance by giving him/her an idea of what's going to happen, especially if this is the first time, to prevent him/her from feeling shocked or overwhelmed during the run. Don't expect your child to emerge as the top three but give lots of encouragement and assurance along the way. At the end of it all, tell him/her just how proud you are and congratulate on a job well done. Of course, you can always say that we still have room for improvement so that everyone will look forward to the next run!
Lastly, as best as you can, create happy memories from the day which will last your family for a long, long time. Enjoy the moment and don't let the hot sun take away any of your joy!
Disclosure: We were invited to join the Cold Storage Kids Run 2015 and the kids received complimentary entries. All opinions are our own.