Four years ago (when she was a tiny seven year old in Year 3) Youngest achieved a surprise victory in the Year 3 and 4 House Cross Country race at her school.
Well it was a surprise to us, maybe not to her.
We had no idea she could run. She has always been fit by dint of the amount of team sport she plays but we had not seen her run in a competitive race before. At her previous school Sport’s Day races had involved bean bags and hoops.
The House Cross Country race is an annual mass start affair with the younger Years 3 & 4 racing over about 2k and the older Years 5 and 6 running around 3k. The whole school running together. From the best runners to those that struggle. All take part and give it a shot. Quite impressive.
Following her victory and liking the weight of the gold medal Youngest decided to set out to win all four of the races that she would take part in during her time in the Junior school. I distinctly remember her telling me as much on our way home in the car.
This seemed to me like difficult personal goal for a 7 year old. Leaving out the actual running even the time frame was daunting. Four years. And the fact that she didn’t actually ‘know’ how to run.
So I told her it would be tough. I told her that in Year 5 especially when she would have to race against the older and bigger children in Year 6 and over the longer 3k distance, it would be a tall order.
I tried to manage her expectations.
I shouldn’t have.
Today she achieved her goal with a fourth marvellous win in her last race in the Junior school. Not only winning the girls’ race but coming 5th overall against all the Year 5 and 6 boys too.
My daughter never fails to amaze me with her grit and determination.
She doesn’t like running. She doesn’t like the time in her own head. Which can be a scary place. And yet she has dragged herself off to Park runs when time allowed between her other sport to hone her running skills.
Since that first year the weight of expectation has been heavy. Her own fear of failure huge. She is sick with nerves beforehand.
She puts everything out there on the field.
Runs against bigger and older children.
Trains. Tries. Visualises.
This is why I believe she can do anything she puts her mind to.
Talent is a small part of the picture.
Desire is a some of the battle.
Hard work is everything else.
My daughter is quite simply inspirational.