Yesterday was the day the monkies have been looking forward to all week and my, what an adventure it turned out to be.
The Cold Storage Kids Run is the only run that my kids have never failed to participate every single year. Especially Ash, who has been running in every single race since the inaugural Kids Run in 2008. So there we were, bright and early as we could be, at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay.
Yes, we had to drag our sleepy bums out of our beds even before the sun had risen... on a SUNDAY! But I guess there is something special in going on a kind of run with filled with kids, customized running tees, race bibs and finisher medals. And clearly, all three of them were pumped up for it.
How they can look so chirpy at 6.50am is beyond me.
I had accompanied the 2 boys on each of their running escapades in all of the previous editions. And this year marked the first time ever that both Ash and Ayd participated in the competitive SPRINT Categories, which also meant that they will be running entirely on their own.
But as glad as I was that I need not be huffing and puffing alongside them, I had reasons to be worried for both of them.
For one, the competitive race route spanned 1.6km. They had only ran 800m in the previous races, and that was probably the longest distance they had ever completed in a single run. Coupled with the fact that they had ZERO training prior to the Kids Run, I was not entirely certain they could finish the 1.6km route.
Well, as it turned out, my fears were completely unfounded.
Ash was the first to be flagged off, and he came back all drenched in perspiration... but in mighty high spirits! He told me that midway through the run, he became incredibly tired and so slowed to a walk. But he pushed on and picked up speed again after a while, and had a medal to show for his efforts. Well done, son!
Even Ayd, who has a history of tripping or stopping totally in the middle of the race, managed to last the distance and collected his medal in his trademark toothless smile.
I asked Ayd whether he felt like giving up at any point of his run, and he replied that he did think of it at some point while he was getting breathless. But he told himself that he must not give up, and so slowed down his pace to a slight jog and manage to cross the the finish line in the end. Yet another run well done, Ayd!
As like past years, the Meadow area was filled with a carnival-like atmosphere with games, roving mascots and activities to keep the kids busy.
But there was no time to indulge in all of that, as the time soon came for Ale (and me) to take our places in her race category.
During last year's run, the wifey was the running companion of choice for the Diva and it ended with the wifey having to carry her for almost of the entire 800m! So this year, I was graciously being volunteered by the wifey to run with Ale.
And the good news was that I had one year to work on those arm muscles. The bad news was, if Ale was hatching a plot to make me carry her when the race started, she wasn't showing it.
On the contrary, she seemed extremely eager to have the air horn sound off and begin the race!
And when the air horn did blare, she was off in such a quick manner that I could barely keep up with her.
300m into the race, and she was still going strong!
By the 400m mark though, I could tell that she got a little tired but she made a determined face and kept plugging away... albeit wanting to hold my hand as we jogged together.
The skies must have taken pity on her because the next thing we knew, a huge downpour ensued. And this possibly gave her the perfect excuse to ask to be carried... which I did, despite my protesting arms. Let me just say that running in the rain, with a 13kg sack of rice in my hands AND trying my darnedest to keep my camera bag from being totally drenched is one trying task, but an immensely FUN one at that too.
Yes, no rain - no matter how heavy - was going to rain our parade and we completed the run, muddy shoes, soaked underwear and all... with a well-deserved finisher's medal to boot!
I have read some of the complaints made on Cold Storage Kids Run's Facebook page and while I would not totally dismiss all of them, I personally felt that this year's edition was much better than previous years. The Padang, though more accessible, was a much smaller venue and its field was too small to accommodate everyone. There was more seating space at The Meadow and it didn't feel as claustrophobic.
The only bugbear I have is that of the Reporting Time for Ale's run category (Singapura Finance Blue Sky Fun for 2-4 years old). It was set at 8.35am, much much earlier than some of the other categories before it. With the actual race time scheduled to be 9.15am, this meant that most of the 2 to 4 year olds were being cooped up in the holding tent for more than an hour (since the programme timings over ran) and caused plenty of children to turn cranky, uncomfortable and plain wonky.
But overall, we had a physically fun morning. Sure, it was hot - and then cold - with lots of waiting time spent on the races and I could technically replicate the run with a jog around my estate but it just would not be the same, is it?
There is just something special in seeing your children complete a 1.6km race, collecting their prized medals and yet still declaring that they will be back again next year.
There is just something equally crazy too, in carrying your child and sprinting like mad through the pouring rain... and wanting to do it all over again come the same time next year, in a heartbeat.