We're also taking part in the Walney Family Fun Run on the 29th June. Andy is going to run the 10km and I will be running with the boys in the 1 mile disability run which takes place before the 5 and 10k runners set off. The boys could have managed the 5km run but an event like this, put on especially for children with disabilities, is something we should support and celebrate. (Plus we had such a really good time taking part in it last year!)
I wrote a piece for the Walney Wind Cheetah monthly newsletter a few days after the run last year and thought I would share it with you.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all once more for putting on this fabulous event and to tell you what it has meant to our family.
My husband Andy and I have 2 boys. Sam is 6 and has severe autism. He has never spoken and his understanding is extremely limited. He certainly makes life interesting and we are bombarded with challenges on a daily basis. Our younger son William is 3. He doesn’t have a disability, but loves his brother very much and supports him in everything.
Having a child like Sam can be very isolating, but we are part of a very supportive network of friends…fellow parents of children with disabilities… and it was with many of these friends that we were running with so we knew we’d be in good company. Entertaining the kids before the fun run (as many find waiting very difficult) was a group effort and all the kids were super. Our Sam had a great time running around the big field being chased by his dad!
The time came to head to the starting line and so we all went to get ready. The crowds gathered alongside ready to help send us off. A lot of us as parents are used to our children getting stares but this time it was very different. It felt very different too. Pride welled up for both my children as the countdown started, the crowd cheered and we all set off.
I headed after William who (very focused on the task in hand) had sprinted ahead. Andy ran hand in hand with Sam. I honestly thought he would end up having to carry Sam a good portion of the way but it wasn’t the case at all. Both boys managed very well. I don’t think Sam had much of a clue what we were doing, but he loves to run about and loves feeling the wind on his face so he was very happy with running conditions!
We were a little slower on the way back from the Roundhouse and had a couple moments of walking. Andy and Sam had fallen a little ways behind but were still going strong. As myself and William approached the end of the path and saw both the runners and spectators gathered along the road we started to hear the clapping and cheers. I cannot express to you adequately the feeling that gave me as a parent, and I had to hold myself back from shedding a tear. If I had been running with Sam no doubt I probably would have been in floods!
Both boys made it across the finish line to claim their medals and goody bags. Sam actually allowed the medal around his neck long enough to have a good look at it before it came off (an achievement in itself!). William is still wearing his days later! We are so proud of both our boys and all their friends who took part.
So thank you to my fellow Walney Wind Cheetahs, all the marshals and the other runners who cheered and encouraged them. You made all our children winners and gave them the chance to shine and feel good about themselves. We’re very much looking forward to next year’s run.
If you have a child with a disability and can get to Walney for the 29th June I would really really really recommend you give this event a try! Running it isn't a must, last year there were children who ran and walked but also those in buggies, wheelchairs and on special needs tricycles too. Details on how to register are on the poster below.
If you don't have a child with a disability but want to take part in the 5km or 10km run, you can sign up online by clicking here. Hope to see you there for what should be a terrific day!