|The damp zombie in the middle of my 'Running family';|
Nikki and Cay.
For me today, my 'smiling' button, has well and firmly pushed by Jack.
Jack is maybe six or so, (I forgot to ask). And he is awesome. Okay, this post is starting to sound a little ... umm... dubious. This post is about running -- honest!
As I have mentioned before, the beauty of the ParkRun 5K is that anyone and everyone can join in and many families run together. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw a octogenarian running with their great-great-grandson -- probably with another generation being pushed in a jogging stroller behind. ParkRun is just that sort of event. If political parties could hit the ParkRun demographic, they would never have to worry about losing an election for the next thirty years. So, seeing a six-year-old(ish) kid running 5K, although surprising is not unexpected.
It's not Jack running 3.1 miles that made me smile, but the way he did it. He enjoyed every-damp-mucky-yucky-minute of it.
The meteorologists would call this morning, 'autumnal' -- the rest of us would just say 'damp'. It was that light drizzle that doesn't warrant a rain jacket, but is insidious. Everything is dripping and oozing water. In the case of the dirt track course, it was more of a case of oozing mud. It seemed appropriate I was wearing my new InkNBurn Zombie running kit.
I came across Jack and his sister, maybe at the one mile mark and I stayed behind them for the rest of the race. The main reason I had to run behind is because for a six-year-old he was bloody quick. It was all I could do to keep up. However, seeing him run was just pure joy. He was having fun and he clearly loved being at the race.
As all the adults haphazardly tried to jump over the lakes being created by our great British weather, he was running through them all. He was covered in mud and muck. He was wearing black running tights, but from the back he looked like an extra from a apocalypse movie. Every time I came close, he would speed up and make me run quicker. I would like to think he was playing a fun game, but I have just remembered I was dressed like a zombie - a zombie he didn't know. Thinking on, he was probably running from the crazy lady following him.
At every marshall he would wave and smile. Everyone else was panting and groaning. He was almost skipping along. He was just so darn happy.
Towards the end, he gave a burst of speed that not even the 'Super Fury Animals' track could spur me on to match. He went way, way ahead.
I managed to spot him a little while afterwards as he was waiting to be tag-scanned and I saw him with his family. They had all been out to run today. I asked his Mom, if he 'belonged' to her, and she beamed with pride when she announced that he had come in at 27.40. I told Jack that he was an awesome runner, that he had been my pacer and that he had made my day. The look of joy on his face that a stranger -albeit a freaky stranger dressed as a zombie- thought he was an awesome runner, just about made me grin like a mad-hatter.
Jack had been my external aid to happiness today. He had brightened up a very damp, dark run, that not even my bright running kit could lighten. He is now one of my running hero's. Jack is the reminder -not that I need it- to how we all should run.
We all need to run through the mud, jump in the puddles and run from the zombies. Running should make us and everyone around us smile like a cheshire cat. We all need to jog like Jack.