She ran so fast. She ran so fast and just kept running. She kept running past the finish line and the only way to stop her was to sprint in front of her, pick her up and congratulate her by throwing her up in the air. Our 3 year old was beaming. She had completed in her first ever race — a 1 km trail run in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. She was beaming from the pure enjoyment of running. The 1 km trail race involved running along a straight wide trail, then up a long, gradual hill and finally ended with a downhill homestretch sprint to the finish line. Before, during and after the race, our 3 year old’s joy was contagious and we were so proud of her and her spirit.

She had completed in her first ever race — a 1 km trail run in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. She was beaming from the pure enjoyment of running.

father daughter run

5 Peaks Trail Running Races involve a variety of distances from a 1 km kid race up to a 20.2 km race on technical trails found at gorgeous outdoor venues. They are great for the whole family. This particular race was part of the 5 Peaks Southern Alberta race series and was held at the Canmore Nordic Centre, where we were surrounded by beautiful mountain views. My husband, my father-in law (officially the 5 Peaks Northern Alberta race series age 60-69 “Grandpa” Champion), and our 3 year old daughter competed in the race. That’s three generations of trail runners! 

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When we got to the race venue, all three generations picked up their racing bibs and began their pre-race prep. My husband and father-in-law hit the bathroom numerous times, sipped on sports drinks and snacked on energy bars, while our 3 year old jumped around with excitement. Each runner seemed to have their own individualized pre-race prep.

5 Peaks Trail RunningThe 3 km kids race was the first to start. We watched the older kids start their 3 km run with great anticipation. Watching the older kids take off at a sprint, my 3 year old started to act over-excited and slightly nervous. My husband and I talked with her about having fun while we run, and we managed to slightly calm her down. I felt excited for her too, as I remembered the days when I would wait around anxiously to play in a competitive rugby game.

…my 3 year old started to act over-excited and slightly nervous. My husband and I talked with her about having fun while we run, and we managed to slightly calm her down.

When it was time for the 1 km run, I lined up with my 3 year old amidst a crowd of other little ones and parents. There was no way I was going to let her try to run the race by herself. Not only did I want to make sure she was having fun the whole time (and staying on course!), but I wanted to run alongside her as she completed her first race!

5 peaks trail race

As the race start time got closer, the director had us all jumping and swinging arms to warm up. After a loud countdown from 10, we were off. Most of the kids took off at a break-neck pace, but my 3 year old ran out of the gate at a steady pace; amazingly, it was a pace she kept up for the whole race!! As we neared the uphill climb, I asked her if she wanted to power hike up the hill. She said, “No way, I want to run!” And so on we ran. As we ran I told her that she was doing a great job. She replied calmly, but with enthusiasm in her eyes, “Thank you Mom”.

My heart was about to explode!!! I picked her up, held her high in the air and said, “You did it, your first trail race!”

At the top of the hill, her excitement grew as the finish line came into view. I reminded her to watch out for the rocks and sticks as she flew smoothly down the hill. Her little sister, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa were cheering for her as we crossed the finish line. My little girl didn’t stop there though, she kept cruising all the way past the finish with determination written all over her face. My heart was about to explode!!! I picked her up, held her high in the air and said, “You did it, your first trail race!” She smiled a big smile,  so excited and happy to have completed her first race. It was absolutely adorable!

5 peaks trail running

This excitement lasted the rest of the morning as we cheered on her Dad and Grandpa as they completed the 13.4 km Enduro Course. Dad proved that he still could throw down a race even though training has become difficult with two young girls and won 1st in his age group and 4th overall. Grandpa was 4th on his age group, seconds off of a podium finish. This time however, the old guys’ success was overtaken by our amazing 3 year old trail runner.

 

 

By Annika Mang
By Annika Mang

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4 thoughts on “A Toddler’s First Trail Run”

  1. I am excited for her! My kids all love running and it’s fun to see their excitement when they do a fun run. It’s great that she is soo excited about running and getting out with you all.

  2. I finally took the time to read this after saving it earlier. LOVE IT! I’m a trail racer and so looking forward to my daughter running her first 5 Peaks race next summer! She’s already taking about it!

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