My youngest son Cor has been getting into running, especially through the pandemic. It’s become a space for him to break from computer-school and get out some pent-up energy. He really started ramping up over the Fall, though. Back in early November, he spontaneously decided to turn a seven-mile run into a ten-mile run. And he maintained a pace of 7:52 per mile (which is impressive even for an adult)! After that, it felt hard to refuse him when he asked if we could sign him up for his first half-marathon sometime in 2021 (he really wanted to complete the 13.1 mile event while he was still 13 years old).
There aren’t a lot of races happening these days, because of pandemic precautions. But we learned of one in Fairmont, West Virginia: the Run to Read Half-Marathon. And since I actually ran the same event a year ago, I knew that might be a good experience for Cor (and I also ended up feeling pretty impressed by the way they handled COVID precautions for this year’s edition of the race).
Talking through things ahead of time with Cor, we established three levels of goals for Cor’s first half-marathon. Each one would be something to celebrate, and even if we couldn’t hit every goal, we could build on the experience and continue to grow for future running endeavors. Here were the benchmarks we established:
- Finish the 13.1 mile event.
- Run the whole way (no walking)
- Cross the finish line under two hours
Believe it or not, we hit every single one of those goals! For the first 8 miles, Cor and I were cruising at a pace around 8 minutes and 35 seconds per mile. Miles 9 and 10 started to get a little more difficult, though Cor kept the pace. For the last three miles, we had to slow down a little bit. Still, we never had to stop and walk. And we finished a solid six minutes under that two-hour threshold!
I’m so proud of my 13-year-old ending up with about the same time that I managed my first half-marathon at age 36! Such Cor having such a positive first half-marathon experience, I’m especially curious to see what he’ll do next.