Holiday 5Ks in OKC: five tips for running with children - MetroFamily Magazine
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Holiday 5Ks in OKC: five tips for running with children

by Callie Collins

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Oklahoma City family fun helps families stay fit. 

 MetroFamily's calendar of events features a terrific variety of family fitness events. There are some amazing fitness classes around the metro and I have no doubt local walking trails, health initiatives in Oklahoma City and a community consciousness do make a difference in the way we approach exercise. 

However, I can only speak for myself and I know that it's difficult to find the time to work out as much as I'd like. As a working mom of three boys, I feel like I'm running after children rather than running with them most of the time. We take walks almost every night when weather permits; setting a good example and taking the time to do a positive activity together, away from screens and after a lot of sedentary school work, is important to us.  

Walking circles around our neighborhood, though, has its limits. I'm fairly certain Isaac, who's 3, has touched all our neighbors' lawn and seasonal decorations (sorry about that) and picked up quite a collection of leaves, pebbles and some miscellaneous items found in the gutter. No one wants to feel like a hamster on a wheel, even as scooters, bikes and skipping games add limited variety. We have to change it up now and then. 

What we do to keep active and interested is participate in local fun runs and 5Ks. My sons and I completed our first 5K together last month. Sam is 8 and he enjoyed running ahead of us with his Aunt Katie. Isaac walked about half the distance and I carried him the other half. Gabriel, who is 9 months, stayed home with Dad but I could have taken him in a stroller and just walked slower with Isaac. I'm not an expert but I've done a few local runs now with them and here's what has worked for us.

Five tips for a community run with children in tow:

Put your doubts aside: Local runs often have a fun run that's a mile or two for families with kids. Those shorter runs are a great way to see if a longer run could work out for you and your little ones. Don't be intimidated by the fact that a 5K sounds long. It's a little over three miles but you'll be surprised how enthusiastic children can be to complete a goal that involves movement. You may not be able to participate in the timed portion or place but you'll finish together. 

Make a phone call: Websites often have key information but may not mention much about children. Verify for yourself that the event allows participants under age 18. Ask if strollers are permitted or if there's anything else a person who might participate with a small child should know. If you have to start behind the professional runners or just feel more comfortable behind the crowd, there's nothing wrong with that. 

Take a knapsack: A lightweight backpack can help make the difference between a good run and a great run. Don't worry about packing drinks; there are water cups at practically every organized run. A change of clothing, though, or a seasonal item like a sweatshirt, mittens, extra socks, etc. may come in handy for your child. There's no need to pack a bag. Identify the key items you know are likely to bother your child and just bring those.

Start off well: Get everyone out there on the right foot by making sure shoes are tied and socks are comfortable. Plan for a last visit to the restroom on-site. If you have another parent or other adult with you, trade off to make sure you're prepared as well.

Don't worry about getting left behind: I am surprised at every run we do how encouraging fellow participants can be. We haven't been the last participants to finish yet and even if we were, I've made my peace with that. Go at your own pace. 

I think we're up for a turkey trot this November. If you'd like to participate with our family, write to


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