If there’s one event our little guy looks forward to, it’s the Mini-Mos; a community event organised by the local primary school that’s now in its 33rd year.
Everyone is invited to take part in either a 2km, 5km or 10km fun run with funds raised from donations and entry fees going to selected charities. This year the funds raised were going to Autism Spectrum Australia and the Unicorn Foundation. The 10km race attracts elite runners who start the race standing in front of the social runners and compete for prize money.
Because the event is organised by the local primary school, many children compete and in this day and age of childhood obesity rates soaring, an event where children can spend time getting prepared, doing training and competing in a run is an excellent idea.
Most children are content to run in the 2km event with a sprinkle of kids taking up the 5km challenge. But the little guy just loves to run and so for him, it wouldn’t be a good day out unless he ran in all three races.
The 10km race is the first event of the day and it starts at 7am. As Alfie is 10-years old and as his age group is Under 20, he needed everything stacked in his favour so the plan was to get him there half an hour before the race so he could be at the front of the pack.
As we were having to head to the airport for our flight to Bali at the same time as the race, I organised for Blacklane to detour via the race so we could drop Alfie at the starting line. We weren’t leaving him without an enthusiastic cheer squad though as I had friends and family who agreed to position themselves around the 10km course to cheer him on. His big brother and sister were part of the cheer squad with Arabella on her cripple sticks and Archie who had come straight from work and hadn’t yet been to bed. Rosie, who was nervous at the sight of the suitcases, was scooped up into the car so she wouldn’t be home alone fretting.
Cheer squad sorted, we lined Alfie up behind the starting line, gave him hugs and kisses, told him it was a good day to be a champion and off we went.
In the car I kept looking at my watch and when the hands moved to 7am I knew he was off and racing. But just then I had a terrible thought. I realised I hadn’t tied his shoelaces and normally, whenever he has a race, because his fine motor skills are still developing, that’s something I do for him.
In a moment of panic I said to Drew, ‘I forgot to check his laces’.
Drew said calmly, ‘It’s okay, I offered but he said he wanted to do them himself’.
‘No Drew, you can’t let him do them himself, not for a 10km race!’ So I sat there hoping he’d managed to secure his laces.
At the airport we were checking in our bags and being scanned and patted down and the texts started coming in from family and friends. Archie said just before the race started they announced that Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister, was running in the race. He’s run in it many times before but this was the first time as Prime Minister.
Then they announced that there was a little boy in the race who was running in all three events of the day and could he step forward and he was given a big clap. Then the race began and Archie said he got off to a great start. At the 3km mark a friend said he was looking great. At 6kms my father said there was no one around his age ahead of him. At 8kms my friend, who’d been outside her house for half an hour with her camera at the ready, said he went flying by looking great.
But around the next bend it happened. Laces undone, one of his shoes came off. He didn’t stop; he kept running and continued on the course, one shoe off and one shoe on until the finish line. My father collected the shoe and took it to the finish line where Alfie came through in 46 minutes.
And he was disappointed. When I was able to speak to him on the phone he said, ‘I wanted to do better than last year’. I said, ‘You did; you beat your time by about two or three minutes and you did it wearing just one shoe so that’s excellent’. And then Archie asked him if he’d like a photo with the Prime Minister. ‘I don’t have time’, he said, as he ran off to get into the starting position for his second event.
And because Archie is not the type to forego an opportunity, he moved in for a photo and happened to remind the PM that it was his mother who beat him in the Balmoral Burn. Just in case he’d forgotten. The PM finished in just over an hour.
Then, with just enough time to retie his shoes and swap T-shirts, it was on with the 5km race. Taking a more gentle pace, Alfie ran another 5kms.
After finishing that event he then lined up for the 2km race where he was now in the Under 10’s age group. This race was also run at a comfortable pace with Alfie not caring about racing the clock or any of his peers.
There is a parent and child race and one of his very best friends ran in that event for the very first time with his mother and grandfather. Alfie had been giving his friend training and on Saturday afternoons they would walk the course until familiar with it.
Fortunately the weather was mild with plenty of sunshine so the conditions were favourable for the runners and then for those who stayed afterwards for the fun fair. Alfie, now being looked after by friends, stayed and played on all the rides and for him, had ‘the best day ever’.
The Mini-Mos is a community event organised by Mosman Public and is open to all who wish to compete. This year over 3,000 people competed in the three races with most of them being children and over $25,000 was raised for Autism Spectrum Australia and the Unicorn Foundation.
And a very big thank you to my friend and the cripple for looking after the little guy and sending me photos.