Seeing what they can do


It is Saturday, and my eldest demands to be taken running. He has designs on my new watch (a cross between a watch and a digital stopwatch), which has the shape and some of the colours of the Ben 10 watch (“the Omnitrix”) which has been a staple of his bed-time reading. We make a deal, if my son comes running with me five time, I will buy him a watch just like my own.

The day is damp, with rain falling in slow, punctuated showers. By the time we reach the track it is mid-fall, and the rain continues through our shortened warm-up. I teach my son to stretch the muscles of his lower leg, he teaches me frog hops and pencil jumps. The youngest joins in the latter, but he fails to quite catch the knack of the exercise, holding his arms out front in fists rather than above his head, together, in a point.

Eventually, the clouds still a dark grey above, the three of us settle on a jog-walk circuit of the track. Reaching the 100 metre starts, we improvise a short race of sorts, the youngest starting, the eldest held back to race at him from behind. I intend them to meet at a line which I estimate as 50 metres from our start. The line is confirmed by a yellow flag on the grass verge of the track. But my youngest runs in a boomerang-shape, heading for the off-track flag, rather than the simpler line at the end of his own lane.

Eventually, our clothes soaking, we concede – leaving for food, and with plans of further sessions to come through (I hope) a dryer spring.

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