Little T’s First Ever Cross-Country Run

“Go for it” one parent said to his eight-year-old little girl – a lovely, shy, blonde girl who is a year older and at least a head taller than T.

“You can do this!”  another one prompted her daughter.

As for us?  All we said to T was “Enjoy the run and it doesn’t matter how long you finish, as long as you finish it”.  We also told her to stick with her best friend F who was nervous about it.  To be fair, T was also a bit scared but she’s known to be one of the fastest in her class.  In fact, she surprised everyone by coming in first in last year’s sports day.  We thought if they stuck together they can prod one another if the other falls behind.

A day before the visit of the mini-beast from the East, little T and her friends from school participated in a cross country run.  This happens yearly when Year 3 students and above are invited to do the run.

It wasn’t just the kids who were nervous.  We, the parents were also the same especially since the kids who joined from T’s class was their first time in joining too.  No one (apart from the older kids who’ve joined last year) were familiar with the track and what to expect.

And then they were gone… all 800 kids from all over Cornwall participated, some had their parents run with them as well.  My husband and I joined the other parents from T’s school.  We chatted as we waited and then after a while, some kids were already coming in.  We were impressed with their speed.  Then kids from T’s school started running past, we all cheered for them of course, even the ones who were from other schools.

Small kids, older kids started running past, even a man in a dinosaur costume sped by.  Still there was no sign of T and her best-friend F.  I was starting to worry and then I spotted her from afar.

My camera didn’t focus.  She’s the girl in blue behind the blonde little girl.  I called out to her, she saw me and didn’t even blink and sprinted past us, who were cheering loudly.

All the of the kids were covered in mud.  Now I understand why they had to tape their shoes on, some kids ran holding their shoes, they must have gotten stuck in the mud.

We were so proud of our little girl as she came in at 545.  Her other friends came in way before her, but it didn’t matter.  She said she stuck with her friend F, but got separated from him by the river.  When she couldn’t see him, she decided to ran as fast as she could.  That’s her waiting to see if F came in.  He wasn’t that far off from her.

All of them did really well actually, although later on, I did wonder whether we are teaching our daughter to be mediocre?  Is it bad that we don’t push her?  We never say “Go for it!”.  We never push her to win.  We always say – have fun, enjoy it.  As parents, we don’t like putting pressure in anything that little T does, especially since we know some parents in her school do that to their kids.  We may not push her to win, but we do encourage her to always do the best that she can.  Isn’t that enough?

What about you?

Do you tell your child to go for it, or to have fun and enjoy the experience?



  1. Emma Hip2trek

    Bless her well done! We usually say do your best – if you win great, if not it doesn’t matter. I love that they had to tape their shoes on, I would never have thought of that. #CountryKids

    • I wouldn’t have known about the tape either till one of the mum’s whose son did it last year told us about it 🙂

  2. Kids of the Wild

    What a great achievement and a good job they did tape up their trainers! I think telling kids to enjoy the participation is just fine #CountryKids
    Kids of the Wild recently posted…Forest School for Wild KidsMy Profile

  3. Well done Little T a great result! I’m with you on not pushing kids, they get enough of that at school from peer pressure from each other. If she is a good runner and enjoys it that’s every reason to try her best without any extra pressure. Lovely muddy photos, my kids adored cross country in primary school too and I wish they had kept it up.

    Happy Easter to you all, thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Fiona recently posted…Country Kids 31st March 2018My Profile

    • I so agree. There’s enough pressure with the kids at school, that’s why we always just say ‘Have fun’ 🙂 Happy Easter to you and the rest of your family too 🙂

  4. Congrats to T on her first run! I love the picture of her taped on shoes. My husband and I differ on our words of encouragement. I say have fun and he says try for first place. Unless someone is ridiculously pushing their kiddo, I think the most important part is that parents show up and support their kids. So, you are obviously doing it right.

  5. I love the dinosaur costume! That looks like such fun – my pair would love getting that muddy! #countrykids

    • It was definitely fun but also a tricky run for the kids especially since it was muddy and I forgot to mention that it was a 3m run!

  6. Oh how cute!i did cross country for the school for years . She did amazingly!! X

  7. claire | the ladybirds' adventures

    What a fantastic achievement. you must be very proud. #countrykids

  8. fashionandstylepolice

    What a great achievement. My kids would love to take part in this for sure. They would love to get really muddy.

  9. Becky Day

    Wow! This is so inspiring. I love it when parents encourage their kids to try new things without pushing. We’ve recently got Holly into hiking and its been amazing. Popping over from #countrykids

    • We love hiking too. It’s nice when our kids like the outdoors too isn’t it? 🙂

  10. Karen Gough

    Well done, I’ve always told my girls it not about winning as long as your having fun and anything else is a bonus. My eldest did join the schools after school running club but it got to much for her but she did keep going for a go 6weeks

  11. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    I tend to be the same as you – encouraging them to join in and enjoy it rather than pushing them. Sounds like little T did well and it was good of her to stay with her friend. That’s a great tip about taping their shoes on – I can imagine how much easier it made it when running through mud. #countrykids

  12. Helen - from Mummy to Mum

    She did so well, running is not easy to do and those conditions look like they made it harder!

    With my children I tell them that obviously winning feels better and it is good to want to win and try to win, but as long as they have fun doing it and try their best that’s all that matters. #CountryKids

  13. Emma MacDonald

    My oldest loves cross country. The more races she does though, the more determined she becomes to do well. I get all emotional watching. I have now become one of those mums that yells “SPRINT FINISH, COME ON YOU’RE NEARLY THERE!” because she told me it really helps her.
    Emma MacDonald recently posted…Next Girl’s Clothing Review: Spring 2018My Profile

  14. Becca Talbot

    I think it’s great that you don’t push them too hard – otherwise they might end up feeling like they’ve failed you if they don’t win every time. It’s better that they enjoy the activities that they’re doing, rather than always competing to be the best 🙂 x

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