The Cross Country

It’s the once a year event that has me cheering from up and down the sidelines.  This week was Alfie’s first week back at school after the Easter holidays and three days in, he had his school’s annual cross-country event.

The Under 9's getting a few instructions

The Under 9’s getting a few instructions.  Alfie’s all in blue on the left.

As you may know, Alfie loves to run and because he’s not a sprinter, the longer the race the better.  The problem with this race is that it isn’t all that long and is over and done with in less than 10 minutes..  It’s just 2kms (1.25 miles) and so it can be run as a sprint.  But, while not a speedster, Alfie has plenty of endurance.

At least he lined up in the inside lane

At least he lined up in the inside lane

Before the race I had a chat to Alfie and told him if he wanted to do well he’d have to run fast as some boys would consider 2kms a sprint.  I said, ‘And at the start of the race you can’t just stand there while everyone takes off sprinting; you have to run off too.  Why give everyone else such a headstart?’  (And I had to say this because after the starter’s gun goes off he tends to loiter while everyone takes off in front of him).

He's so far back I can't even find him

The second lap – starting to overtake

And I said, ‘There’s one boy that’s been training for this race for about four months.  At the start of the race he’s going to take off sprinting.  You don’t want him to gain too much distance from you so you’re going to have to try to keep up with him’.

Alfie said, ‘It’s okay mum, I’ll just come second then’.  See what I’m up against?  I’m always hoping he does actually have a killer-instinct or a competitive-edge but if he does, he’s burying it.

Starting to overtake

Blessed with long legs

The day of the race was a perfect autumn day with clear blue skies and there was still a little warmth in the sun’s rays.  All competitors had to wear their house colours and Alfie’s in the blue house which is great because that’s the colour of the school uniform so he just put on his sport’s uniform.  Sorted.  Alfie’s race was the first race of the day.  I gave him a few puffs of ventolin as he gets a bit wheezy and then all the Under 9 runners lined up in their starting positions.

Picking up his pace

Heading out the gates and into the first of the outside laps

The good thing about the race is it’s two laps around the inside of the oval then two laps around the outside of it.  He’d have to pass me three times so three times I’d be able to yell at him (encourage him), to pick up his pace.

Off went the starter’s gun (there’s no actual gun because that’s not PC), and everyone bolted out of the starting blocks (there weren’t any of those either), except for Alfie who was out for a stroll.  By the end of the first lap 75% of the competitors were in front of him.  As he cruised past me I yelled, ‘Pick up your pace’ and ‘Get a move on’, but I couldn’t watch; it was too painful to see him running a race in cruise control.  Then a friend grabbed my arm and told me to be of good faith.  As the bolters started to tire, Alfie was one by one, overtaking them.

Catching up to the boy coming second

Catching up to the boy coming second

By the time he finished the second lap and was heading out of the gates to run his first lap around the outside of the oval, he had come forward to be in about 10th position.  ‘Keep going; don’t slow down; you can do it’, I yelled enthusiastically.

Overtaking this boy to be in second position.  One lap to go.

Overtaking this boy to be in second position. One lap to go.  And there’s Arabella and my girls in the background

I watched him run around the outside of the oval and after he’d climbed the hill he was in third position.  As he started running his final lap of the race he overtook the boy in front of him so he was now in second position.

Running through the finish line

Running through the finish line

All the way around that final lap he was gaining on the boy who had led the race from the start and yes, it was the boy who’d spent the last four months in training.  Alfie never slowed down and as the race progressed he just ran at a faster and faster pace.  He finished in second place and barely looked puffed.

Arabella and my mother and my girls congratulating Alfie on a great effort

Arabella and my mother and my girls congratulating Alfie on a great effort

The first six place-getters are off to the zone cross country so we have two weeks to train for that event.

He was barely puffed

He was barely puffed

I really loved watching Alfie run.  And he took us on an emotional roller coaster as he started at the back of the pack and step by step and one by one, he inched his way to second position.

Alfie with his very proud being sister

Alfie with his very proud big sister

After that stellar effort, I let him have a ‘lunch order’ – butter chicken curry!

A family photo

My little runner

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  1. Danielle says:

    Congrats, Alfie! What a great race and excellent tactics too 😉

  2. Look at those long legs? Those are some awesome running legs. Congrats to Alfie. Take care, BAM

  3. Oh my this kid is killing me! And you too by the sound of it! My youngest ran cross country was and excellent runner – fast sprinter and endurance. She would beat everyone, should have gone on to be one of Australia’s stars except she found it boring!!! Its exasperating isn’t it.

  4. Sorry forgot to say congrats to Alfie and mum ( I feel your pain).

  5. OMG ! Do you realise this is the third cross-country I’ve shared with you and Alfie? I just knew this was going to be his year. What a stellar performance. Ye of little faith. So nice of Arabella and your mother to be there to support him with you.

  6. WooHoo!! Way to go Alfie!! I knew he could do it! He was just pacing himself mum. That’s what you have to do in a race… O_o That and give your mum heart palpitations… 😉 xo

  7. YES!!!! Go Alfie!!! Sounds like he ran the race with his head AND his feet!

  8. Way to go, Alfie! Spectacular run. I like his attitude about second being just fine.

  9. Congrats to Alfie! He sure knows how to run a long distance race. I think it’s far better to have endurance than speed. What’s that saying – slow and steady wins the race. With endurance on his side, he’ll out run them all in the end. Way to go!

  10. Way to go Alfie!! But I’m sure it was nerve-wracking for you.

  11. What a great race and so well planned, it would have been nice if he had shared his strategy with you so you needn’t worry so much. It looks like you had a wonderful day for it too.

  12. Congratulations to Alfie on the fine race though it really does sound like he could have won based on the distance he made up as the race progressed and the others tired out. If it had only been a bit longer course.

  13. Go Alfie you little champion! See slow and steady is the way to go. Hope your mother doesn’t wear you out too much training for zones. 🙂

  14. Alfie doesn’t seem to have your keen competitive streak Charlie! 😉 Well done on the race Alfie and he knew exactly where he wanted to be. He’s adorable!

  15. Awesome race Alfie…. can’t believe they no longer have guns for take off….. Have an awesomely fantastic evening 🙂

  16. Good on Alfie! I can just imagine the emotional ride you’d have been on as he set out casually despite being able to run faster. He is delightfully laid back 🙂 It goes to show that slow and steady can really get you ahead though – and I imagine that as he gets older and moves into longer distances, he’ll really come into his own.

  17. I love these posts of yours, you have steller kids, each different from each other and yet equally talented. Fab race. I can see him acing it pretty soon.

  18. What a trooper! I’m sure with a little training, Alfie could easily win a race! Congrats to your super star!

  19. Good for Alfie! He has a great running style, looks very comfortable all the way. And of course the best support team. You must be so proud.

  20. Hahaha…”I’ll just come second then, Mum”. Good on you, Alfie, and great race! Competitiveness is seriously overrated.. 🙂

  21. Congrats Alfie, slow and steady, way to win the race.

  22. Congratulations to Alfie, sounds like her ran a pretty strategic race!

  23. I’m with Alfie – slow and steady all the way. I bet the next two weeks of training is going to try your sanity though!

  24. Good for Alfie, we’ll see him winning marathons yet Charlie! I do love his chilled out attitude, but I would have been tearing my hair out on the sidelines like you 🙂 xox

  25. What a champ Alfie is – well done Alfie!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  26. I agree with Kristy–better to have endurance than speed. LOL! Bless him. He’s such a wonderful young man with such a wonderful dispostion. I know you already know he’s a gold medal winner in that department. I love the picture of him with Arabella. Such a fun post!

  27. Alfie is a legend. 🙂

  28. Wow, congrats to Alfie!!! Sounds like he has a future in cross country for sure…he knew to pace himself. He’ll be finishing first in no time. And I can’t get over how his legs are like double the length of everyone elses, haha.

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