When you organize a race, you never know all of the stories behind the runners. Why did they sign up? When did they start running? How did they get to this point? Well, here's a great story from last year's race about six year old Peyton Moore and his Dad, Noah.
Best 5k of My Life!
I did not set a personal best; win the race; or even place in my age group, but this was the best 5k of my life!
Tonight I ran with my six year old son as he completed a monumental goal. A goal that he set and never thought about not completing. A goal that most adults would never contemplate. After three months, he finished his own Marathon!
It started on December 14th when we ran the Charleston Reindeer Run 5k. After that race, my son decided he wanted to run a marathon. I like to think of myself as a pretty good parent and a responsible adult, so I was not planning on letting my six year old son run 26.2 miles in one shot. I also knew that you only get one chance at some of this stuff, so I did not want to discourage him from doing something so great. I told him we would figure out a way for him to accomplish this goal.
I researched kid's running books and articles on web sites. I noticed that several marathons have started to add a "Kids Marathon" to the finish. Kids run with their families until they reach a certain point and then they finish at the marathon finish line. The marathon I am doing this year is not until November and it is in Indianapolis. So I decided to just print out a running chart for my son and worry about the finish later.
The chart was set up in squares that could be colored in at half mile increments. My son was thrilled and did at least one mile per week until tonight's race. About a week ago I realized he was going to finish soon. I looked at the race calendar and saw the first annual Catch the Leprechaun 5k in our hometown. It was a night race in the middle of the week on St. Patrick's Day, what could be better?
When I told Peyton about the race he was pumped! I could see that his mind was working and I asked him what he was thinking. So he completely floors me by telling me he wants to raise money for the injured Marines (this is what I did last year when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon). After some research I found that I could create a donation web site for his race. We worked on the wording together and he came up with "If my dad can do it, so can I!!!". I sent it out to family members and my friends thinking we might raise $40 to $50 max. As of tonight, the total was over $700! How amazing is that?
I picked Peyton up at school and we went home to get ready for the race. Peyton was really excited - ok, he was out of control :)
I had made a shirt for him with his own logo and a list of people who had made donations to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund in his name. We put on his race number, he stretched out and was ready to go. We got to the Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park and met my wife Jennifer. Peyton ran up to her and gave her a big hug and the excitement started all over again.
It was cold and raining, but there seemed to be a good turnout for the race. Peyton wanted to go to the front of the starting line. We made our way to the start, but I made sure we were on the far side so we would not be in the way of the fast runners. The start of the race was preceded by a Leprechaun running in front of us (so cool).
I could tell that Peyton was going out too fast and was almost at a full sprint at the start of the race. He didn't last long. He slowed down and people started passing us, I could see that he was starting to get discouraged. I worked with him to keep a steady, slow, pace and things started to look much better. We were close to the one mile mark when the worst possible thing could happen, Peyton's shoe started to fall apart! I could not believe it...
A few days ago I bought Peyton new shoes, but they were just not worn in enough and he wanted to wear his old shoes for the race. Well, after three months of him beating those shoes up they had enough and started to come apart. I did my best to keep them together, but he was having trouble running and was really upset. I could have cried myself. He had worked so hard to get to this point. I picked him up and held him for a while. I was about to turn around and take him back to the start (a really nice Mount Pleasant police officer even offered to give us a ride). I had only taken a few steps back when my son said he wanted to finish the race. What do you do?
I knew we were not going to go very fast, but that the shoes could last until the end. I said ok and decided at that moment that I needed to make this race a lot more fun. It had rained pretty hard and there were water puddles everywhere, so I made a game of us running through every puddle we could find. From that point on we had a blast!
Peyton was back to himself and was having fun. We were laughing and running and people around us were laughing. As we got close to the end, I could hear Peyton saying "I can do this! I can do this!". He was still having trouble running in his shoes, but he was trying his hardest to run that last mile.
We came around the corner and saw the finish line. We could see my wife, her parents and our friends. My running coach (Greg) even came back to run with us. As we arrived at the finish line the "Leprechaun" came out and let Peyton chase him to the end! My wife ran up to Peyton and gave him a huge hug and then put a finisher's medal around his neck (we had it made for him).
I will never be able to express how proud I am of my son. I know the emotions and challenges one goes through when running a marathon for the first time and I can tell you that he made it through his own challenges to finish that race.
We drove home, had dinner and then I put Peyton to bed. Before I read to him, he colored in the last three squares of his running chart. He did it very carefully and gave a lot of thought to each color he chose. When he finished he held up his chart with a big smile and said "I did it!!!".
Yep, that was the best 5k of my life...
For more information and photos, please visit: http://www.mooreonrunning.com/