My 8yr old beat me!

She honestly did and I'm in shock! We were doing the Park Run as we have been since the summer and when today she sprinted at the end and for the first time I couldn't keep up!

We began running in January because she wanted to run and, obviously, couldn't go out on her own. So over the past ten months we have slowly and steadily built up. My younger girls have joined in and they have done 3k. I have completed two 10k races, but together my eldest girl and I do the 5k ParkRuns. 

What do I do now?!?! I'm 35, she is 8 and only going to get better. Do I up my game and do more training so to keep pace with her? There isn't a club close enough to join for her to train with, so she's kind of stuck with me.

A rather shell-shocked



  • Tee hee CB!  Mind you, you don't say what time you ran it in - if it was 45 mins whilst its imprssive that an 8 YO has so much persistance I don't thik you need to worry.  If it was 15 mins then you have a star on your hands!

    Where do you live - I'm surprised there is no club.  If she is really interested her school may be able to help - its xcountry season and most of them will be in the schools xcountry league. 

    My daughter was a runner from aged 7.  I'd always run - she came home from school one day and asked if I'd take her to the local schools xcountry race at our local park the coming Sunday.  I thought "OK" thinking I'd go along with her, stress the important thing was taking part and commiserate with her at the awfulness of it.  She won - there were about 80 kids in her age group from all over the locality.  I was gobsmacked........... it was the first time of many I cried on the finish line.

    There is nothing more rewarding than sharing your passion with your daughter.  My girl was very talented and over the years ran for her county and at national level.  This year again she has run national qualifying time for 800m.  She is 23 now and a PE teacher.  She comes to stay with me in the Lakes and we spend long days out running on the fells (she runs slow to stay with me image).  we often compete in the same events and we have even both won our age groups at the same events which is just brilliant!

    She was very lucky in that her PE teacher at junior school became her mentor - she never lost the drive to run and she joined the local club who nurtured her talent.  All her close friends were at the club so she never really got into the booze culture (though she had her moments!). 

    If your girl is talented it takes a huge commitment from you as well - we spent weekend after weekend driving her to events all over the country - luckily we often competed too because thats what we do, all of us including my OH and son run too.  And just to see her run was brilliant.  It is expensive, though my girl did win money from Europe to help her compete and her club helped as well. 

    The only thing i would say at such a young age is it should be fun, get her to try all sports not just running.  Get her a bike - she can cycle with you while you run.  Don't allow her to run on conrete - keep her on grass, sand, track.  If she is destined for stardom it will come out............ then your problems really start.  I hope you get as much enjoyement as we have had.

  • Hi Tigerlily. Thanks so much for replying. That is so lovely to hear! And so encouraging. The memories must be so precious.

    We ran it in 30:37 and she was two strides ahead of me at the sprint finish. Our best time together was 29:15. 

    We live in Cheshunt, South Hertfordshire just outside the M25. Our nearest club is 45mins with the London traffic and meet at 7pm on a weekday. That is too late for her to be out with school the next morning although i'm hoping that next summer we might be able to manage it occasionally.

    Yes, I know about the tears! She ran her first race in May 1500m and I cried as she came across the finishing line. She didn't quite win but certainly intends to next year!

    I'm new to running too and don't feel I really know how to help her best. I have spoken to her school about xcountry, but they are not sports orientated at all and have nothing to suggest. We live in a built up area and so a lot of our runs are on pavement, although I also occasionally take her trail running. I had thought about asking a local high school if we could practice on their track, perhaps I should follow that up. It's difficult to fit in off road running with a working hubby, three younger children and my work.

    Funny that you should mention bikes - my 7yr old twins accompany us on the ParkRuns with their bikes!

    But my big question is should I let her run further if it is off road? So far 5k is the furtherest I've let her run. Her aim currently is to get her ParkRun Junior Member 10 run t-shirt and we have completed 5 so far. So for my daughter the ParkRun is her 'long run' although it isn't done at her easy pace. In the summer I took her to a brilliant athletics club where she would have learnt all sorts, but she is very highly strung and found the group environment overwhelming. Plus they didn't do long distance running and that is what she wants to do.

    Retorical question - is she a budding star? I have no idea. But if you ask her she will say that she is training for the Olympics!


  • I wouldn't have her running further - 5k is quite a long way for 8.  I'm pretty sure a proper athletics club would frown on her even running 5k, personally I don't have a problem with it but I don't think you need to be going any longer for quite a few years yet.   
  • Yes - I'd agree.  5k is the furthest you should consider - and then only once a month.  Long distance running for 8 year olds is generally 1500m at most.  She is growing fast and you don't want to stress her young bones.  I can't stress enough that off road is the best plan.  I'm sorry your school is of no help - thats just rubbish!  I think at 8 she is very young.  Keep her interested in sports - ALL sports - after school clubs? Netball, rounders, dance etc. etc. Local sports centre - usually have lots of after school activities as well. 

    My girl did all sorts - cricket, netball, football, dance, trampolining, gym, swimming, outdoor pursuits - she loved them all and it was just that she excelled at running.  We were so lucky that we had such a good junior running club which she joined aged 9.  The fact that your girl is currently "highly strung" would surely be a big reason to get her to join a club.  If she wants to run she needs to understand why it is important she gets advice/help from people who know how to "train" an 8 year old - which does not involve longer distances.  That will come with time but for now the important thing is fun.

  • Ok, so I'm going to limit the 5k and do shorter runs on softer ground and try to widen her perspective on other sports. Thanks very much Tigerlily, I really do appreciate the advice.
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