The Bank Holiday weekend was a glorious one at home in Devon. The sunshine meant lots of time outdoors for the family and I. The beach, the park and a village fair all embraced the Broadbents into their sun-baked bosom. It was also a weekend of running.
I did my bit, taking part in the local parkrun. But aside from my own 22 minutes, most of the weekend running was done by my three-year-old twins. Like most children, they just love running.
Whether it was toddler races at the village fair, running across the cricket pitch in the park or running away from the incoming tide at the beach, they scream and laugh with delight as they run. Their happiness is infectious.
At its most simple, there is real enjoyment in running. The feeling of moving fast, the heart beating faster, the wind in the face. It just feels good. That’s the sheer simple joy of running. I think that’s why my children love it so much.
I love it that they love it too. I think – and hope – I won’t become a pushy parent in the mould of the Williams’ sister’s tennis-obsessed father Richard or even the late Earl Woods, father of golfer Tiger. But I do want my children to enjoy running like I have.
Seeing my children run makes me wonder whether there is something actually quite childlike about running. Or do I just feel that way because society says so?
It’s the most natural activity in the world. Yet unless you are running for a bus or kitted out going for a run or jog, it is frowned upon for grown adults to start randomly running, like my children do.
Maybe when we do run, it appeals to the inner child and gives us that feeling of real freedom again. I can see a time when I teach my children more about running. But I think they have plenty they can teach me too.