Castle Howard parkrun | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

The Sacrificial Run

Running with the kids can be great but then there are times it is not so great. I am talking about being a dad and a runner – a running dad. Being a dad will always come before anything else, and that means sometimes there has to be a sacrificial run.

If there is one thing I want to inspire my girls to do is to stay fit and look after their bodies. As a runner, for me this means them getting into running. But, as they all spend so much time dancing, they are already very fit and healthy young girls.

Getting them into running doesn’t have to mean them running marathons or getting into ultra-distance running. But, using running as a way of keeping their bodies fit and their minds clear.

Double-edged sword

Running with the girls is a double-edged sword for me though. On the one hand, it is so lovely to have them with me doing something we can enjoy together. But on the other hand, I have to slow down so that I don’t leave them eating my dust (or mud).

Yesterday was parkrun day and I went along to Castle Howard once again. The parkrun at castle Howard is really nice and good for kids too. Verity loves to run with me and was pleased to be able to come along. Usually, she and Delilah are dancing on Saturday but as it was half-term they could run instead.

Verity is quite keen on running and is doing well in the school cross-country runs that she always volunteers for. So we headed off to the Howardian Hills, and for once it wasn’t raining!

I know parkrun is not a race, but I do race myself and as I am now able to go more often I will be trying to get faster. But this is where the sacrifice comes. Verity isn’t yet 11 and as such, in line with parkrun rules, I stay with her.

As much as I’d love her to be able to knock out a 22 minute 5km – she’s not quite there yet. But, she can maintain her run and only really stopped to walk on the hill at the end – after trying so hard to sprint up it.


Delilah struggled. I was encouraging her and the marshals were fabulous too. But she wasn’t happy. She’s 11 so I didn’t have to stay with her and at about 4km I decided I’d let her run at her own pace as Verity was itching to go faster.

Given all the dance she does, and some of those classes are brutal, I was surprised she couldn’t maintain a run for 5km. But I guess running endurance isn’t the same as dance endurance.

I’d like running to be a positive experience for her and there’s no point having to endure something she doesn’t enjoy. Hopefully, she will find enjoyment in running. That’s why parkrun is so great as there are people there are very supportive – yet they might not even know you.

99th place

Verity powered home in 37 minutes and 98th place overall. I was one place, and 2 seconds, behind her – 99th.

That’s the sacrifice – last week I was 8th in 22 minutes. But in the end – it matters not.

Verity and I got our barcodes scanned and immediately went back out to look for Delilah and support her.

She wasn’t that far behind and Verity ran home with her sister and that made me so proud.

kids running at Castle Howard parkrun | The Yorkshire Dad of 4
Verity went back out to run in with Delilah

Sometimes as parent we make sacrifices. Big ones and small ones like giving up your run to support your kids. I enjoyed this parkrun as much as one where I run at my fastest because I had the girls with me.

Thanks for reading.


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