Last Sunday my six year old daughter and I completed the Color Run at Sydney Olympic Park. This was not actually our first fun run together as we had completed the 5km Balmain Fun Run in 2011 as a trio with my husband but this was our first mother/daughter run. It had seemed like a great idea back in December when I registered, doing something healthy together and showing my daughter how much fun exercise with a purpose can be.
I was a bit of a late starter to running but over the past 5+ years I have made the outdoors my training space and I value the rewards this brings. I used to travel a lot in my last corporate role and so I have run in places as diverse as along the Chinese/Russian border, in the green parks of London, in the urban tropics of Singapore, alongside the high rises and on the raised walkways of Hong Kong and with a beanie and gloves in sub-zero temperatures in Dunedin, New Zealand. I have run solo, with friends, with a running club, trained for a variety of races and of course recently I have started running with my daughter. All of these experiences have made me value the mental, physical and emotional benefits of running and exercise generally. In many ways running is my meditation and allows me to continually challenge myself.
Running as a family is a special experience. A couple of years ago, I ran the Mother’s Day Classic in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens with my father and brother. Both my father and brother are long-time runners and healthnuts and I was expecting to be left in their dust. My father did not disappoint me. At the start of the race he saw Tony Abbott, Australia’s Leader of the Federal Opposition. Tony, a Conservative politician certainly does not hold back when it comes to his athletic performance; he is well-known for his triathlons, his Oxford Blue in boxing, his righteous determination in all he does. My father was not going to be beaten by Tony Abbott, he would show him how run a race. And he did, my brother and I watched bemusedly as my father took off at high speed leaving us and Tony in his wake.
The Color Run though is a fun run. My daughter and I arrived at Sydney Olympic Park dressed in white and ready to be sprayed with colours all in the name of charity (Heart Kids). In fact, not all in the name of fundraising, we were also there to fun-raise (bad pun alert!) and to do something memorable together.
At kilometre one we were shot with blue, at kilometre two it was pink and then orange and yellow until we crossed the finish line hand in hand bombing each other with more colours. Perhaps you expect me to say it was a wonderfully special moment for mother and daughter, but really it was just some crazy colourful fun. My daughter is six, so last Sunday is already ages ago and all but forgotten. Her sense of achievement has been replaced by the weekly routine of school, after-school activities and playdates with friends. Normality rules for us all but perhaps in a corner of her mind, my daughter remembers she can run and it was fun.