Last night saw start our first trial with IMRA to make it easier to introduce children to the sport of trail and mountain running.
We aimed to combine the racing for the parents and quality trail runs for the children with the emphasis on the children having a great time running through the woods having fun. Our main goal for all of these sessions is to develop a positive relationship between the children and the outdoors and help to show them that they too in time can run up mountains if they wish!
Djouce Woods, one of my favourite woods and my very first mountain run (well, attempt at!). Djouce is a beautiful mountain with fantastic trails throughout, and some quite technical ones up and down the steep twisty turns mountain bike trails.
Session began little early as with the comings and goings of kids and parents we decided to forgo the initial 1km at 7pm as the start line was quite far away from our ideal Playstation set up. The kids got to grips pretty quick with the ninjalines and slacklines and through our different challenges we challenged their fundamental movement skills in a new way for them...
The group were split in 2, 5-8 year olds and 9-13. The first group had a fun giant jenga game where the main of game was to take a piece of jenga out, don't knock the stack down, sprint uphill, make a structure higher than the other teams! It was good fun, some desperate to take shortcuts, but they were quickly set on the right path! The groups swapped over and we set out some new challenges for them.
After these activities we set off on our trail run! As usual kids set off at their frantic pace, and then they were faced with their first challenge - a dreaded steep hill! They had a choice, sprint it, run it, walk it, crawl it... Kids being kids decided to sprint it! After a few heavy breaths we gathered our breath, recovered and moved on to the next challenge 300 m up ahead. We stopped at a small portion of single track to get them used to using different footwork patterns to maintain balance, dealing with some turns and generally getting a sense of how the group was going to fair on some more technical ground!
Following the MTB mini trail we found an obstacle that needed some avoiding... a giant puddle!! we spent a bit of time finding different ways to get over and around it leading onto the next challenge, fallen tree. Here we discovered different movement patterns that suited each individual child and what was right for them to maintain their speed and balance while on the trail, some jumping straight over, some vaulting using one hand others using 2 feet depending on their affordances.
Finishing our session down at the start/finish line we needed to descent. we had 2 options, take our time descending a MTB trail or run 2km around and back.. We descended! and made our way back up to the start/finish line.
Click here to see the RELIVE video of the run!
We hope everyone enjoyed the first session. The joys of the trail running mean that each location offers us some unique challenges. Our next session at Tibradden/Cruagh will have even more to offer. We have some really fun routes to take the children on as it has been the primary base for Trail Kids for the last 2 years! Now the joys of trying to narrow it down!!
Looking forward to seeing you at Tibradden on the 28th June.