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Sports Day – the Parent’s Race – by Jackie Gowland

School Sports Day - Parent's Race

It is that time of year when those keen parents decide to show their kids how it’s done at sports day. As an osteopath, this is one event I am happy to sit back and watch, (and think about those hamstring or ankle strains). Well here are a few of those parents that you may recognise from the parents race, and a few tips on how to survive it.

The Parents Race Competitors

The pro runner – these parents run regularly and have been in training for months, they have come dressed to race (lycra all the way) and really look the part. There they are stretching at the side of the track as soon as the children’s races have finished, waiting for their moment of glory. These parents are in it to win it.

The casual runner – they turn up in a t-shirt, some “Sunday” shorts and a pair of “old” trainers, they give the impression that they aren’t too bothered, it will be a bit of fun to join in, they are doing it for their kid’s sake, BEWARE the minute the starter’s whistle goes they are off pushing everyone else out of the way determined to win.

The inappropriately dressed runner – be it a maxi dress, or inappropriate underwear, these parent’s are keen, but limited by their choice of running gear which tends to result in a very awkward running style, and a few giggles from the spectators.

The very keen but very unfit runners – they stand at the start line looking out of place, already beginning to go red in the face as the sun beats down on them, as they set off the crowd watches on tenterhooks waiting for them to fall or keel over, the school first aider hovers nearby – just in case. There is a sigh of relief when they cross the line and their partner/child quickly supplies the life restoring beverage that is needed.

The reluctant runner – these poor parents really don’t want to run, but their prodigeny are begging them from the moment the parents race is announced. They have tried every excuse – “I can’t leave your baby brother”, “I haven’t worn my running shoes”,” I am injured – yes I know it is only a broken fingernail but it really hurts”…. But in the end they give in as they don’t want to disappoint

The competitive runner – these aren’t the pro runners, but they sure want to win the race and will do what ever is necessary to do so. Sportsmanship doesn’t exist as they elbow their way to the front, give the obvious winner a good shove as they set off, and demand to see the photo finish if they aren’t first. (Don’t stand next to them if you are hoping to survive the race).

Surviving the Parent’s Race

If there is any chance you want to race or will end up being persuaded to then try and ensure you follow these tips

  1. Try and do some training before hand
  2. Dress appropriately – trainers and shorts (don’t wear your sunglasses to raise in)
  3. Stretch beforehand. As an Osteopath we do see more patient’s at this time of year who have pulled something as a result of the parent’s race.
  4. Make sure you are not dehydrated.
  5. Go for an outside lane so you are less likely to be targeted.
  6. Enjoy it, physical activity should be fun – after all it is the taking part that is important (to your child, if not to you)
  7. Call your osteopath afterwards or book an appointment to iron out those muscle strains. #osteopathyworks
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