February 21, 2013

Mercedes Kids Marathon, February 16, 2013

My kids begged to run the Mercedes Kids Marathon again this after having so much fun and, most importantly, getting a medal last year. 


Organized chaos -- that's the best way I can describe the kids marathon. Maybe if you only have one kid to throw in the mix, things are less hectic on race day. This year, I managed two kids on race day by myself. That means that I dropped off and picked up two kids and saw zero percent of them running. It's just too hard to push through people to get anywhere you can see the course in the small window of time you have before dropping off again. I met another parent who had three kids running, which instantly earned my respect. Just considering the logistics of that much dropping off and picking up in the massive crowds is giving me a headache.

My daughter wanted to meet her best friend before the race, but we were behind schedule and didn't have time to meet them before the start. 

We were happily surprised to find them afterwards (a small miracle in the huge crowds) so that we could get a picture of them together. 


Then Mercedes sent me a link to my daughter's race pics. See any familiar faces in there? What are the chances?! Somehow they were running right beside each other without seeing each other. 


After we rushed to drop my daughter off, we waited in the packed crowds for my son's wave to start. 


He also didn't spot his BFF until after the race. 


Things we love about this race: 
  • The medals! They are exactly like the marathon medals, just smaller. So they're heavy with a solid ribbon. Some people at our house can't take them off. 



  • Some of their teachers volunteer to stand at the finish line. The kids love seeing those familiar faces at the finish. 
  • The security at the end. You have to hand over your coordinating tag number to pick up your child. Even though there are a zillion kids in one square block, it is surprisingly easy to find your child for pickup. 
  • The cost isn't too bad for a program that involves months of involvement/activity from your child. $20 pays for race day shirts and a medal, and with my kids, their school tracks the mileage for them leading up to the race.  

Things I'd love to see improve: 

  • Food for the kids at the end of the race. They get a coupon for a free meal at Jim n Nicks, but we had an issue redeeming ours this year. I went alone with both kids to redeem the coupon, and they said I had to buy two adult meals (even though it does not state that adults have to purchase anything on the coupon, just that you have to accompany your child). So if you're a single parent with two kids in the race, those coupons are no good for you. It would be easier for parents if they just set up something simple for the kids after the race, and then you wouldn't have to get tangled in coupon phraseology. 
  • Easier drop-off. The pickup is easy and organized, but the drop-off feels like chaos exploded. Where to stand and wait is slightly confusing, and it's just plain crazy crowded. If I had a smidge more claustrophobia than I already do, those crowds would not be working out for me. 

Will we be doing this race again next year? Absolutely. The kids love being involved in something about which a lot of other people at school are excited too, and I love that my son wears his medals (plural because he includes the one from last year's race) everywhere we go for a full week afterwards. Admittedly, I'm kind of wanting to do the same thing with my Mercedes medal too. So blingy.


Do your kids race? What distances? I think my daughter might be ready to go for a 5K, but I would probably cap her distances there. This race is only a mile on race day, but they log the other 25.2 at school throughout the year leading up to the race.

What's the youngest kid you've ever seen racing a half or full marathon? I met a young guy (12 or 13) running with his dad at the start of Mercedes this weekend.

26 comments:

  1. I love it that your kids entered a race, sounds chaotic though! My daughter won her schools cross country last year but it was only 2km so a really short distance...

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    1. That's awesome!!! What age can they start cross country where you live?

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  2. Little runners following in your footsteps. Good for them- I love that they get a medal!

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  3. Congrats to your kids! They're following in your footsteps and that's awesome :)

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  4. I love that your kids run, just like their momma! I'm hoping to be a good example (like you are) for my children waay in the future. I saw that the youngest runner in the Disney Princess Half this weekend is 13..that's crazy to me! I love the idea of the kids racking up the other 25.2 miles throughout the school year, that's really cool! Do all kids participate in that activity or do only the kids who know for sure that they're running the Mercedes Marathon participate in it?

    Congrats!!

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    1. The kids said that everyone does the running, but they only track the kids who signed up. This answer is directly from my kids, so I'm not sure it's 100% accurate.:)

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  5. I love that plan. So they run a full marathon over the course of a year and cap it with the final mile as a race?
    I would love to see something like that in the schools around here...hmmm...maybe something to work on!

    My oldest son ran a 5K at 10 and enjoyed it but he hasn't done any other road races because he ran cross country in middle school and they have to sign something saying they won't do other races during the season.

    Love that your son is wearing his medals with his jammies!!

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    1. Exactly! My daughter said they usually run a mile twice a week at school. And the final mile at the race makes it a marathon. I wonder if they actually count the .2. ??

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  6. That sounds like such a great event for the kids. My son is 5 and wishes I would sign him up for 5Ks, but I'm just not sure he can run that far yet. We do a monthly fun run that's 100m and he loves that. He's more of a sprinter than a distance runner, though I'm hoping to teach him how to pace himself for longer distances. Just not sure where to start with that.

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    1. My daughter will be 10 this year, and I've been talking to her about a 5K. She's interested, and I think it might be a good summer project to tackle together.

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  7. That is so awesome. Sounds like a great race...and I love the medal! I can't get my kids to run with me or do a kids run :( Boo.

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  8. We came to see the Mott tot cross the finish line and I couldn't believe how crazy it was! On one hand I loved seeing all the people and kids there for the event, on the other it was a HUGE pain trying to park and get to the right place. I hope they take your recommendations under advisement and continue to do this for years to come so we can take advantage someday! Great pics!

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    1. I agree! You want everyone to come out, but it makes it pretty crazy on race day. I noticed the same thing with the Mercedes start the next day. Mass chaos if you were trying to stay warm in Boutwell. A little calmer on the cold Linn Park side.

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  9. Your children's proud smiles are adorable! And that's a great price for a kids race. I'm hoping I can convince my son to run a race this summer. He's all about the medal so it might not take much convincing.

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  10. This looks so much fun - my little boy (3) will be running his first race in March, just a 'dash' but he gets a medal!! I got beaten (very thoroughly) by a teenager on NY day...it was quite disheartening!!!!

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    1. There are some pretty darn amazing kids running out there.

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  11. That is so cool...congrats to your sweet little ones...my 15 yr old son ran a 5k with me last year and my 17 yr old ran a 5mile with me last year and trained to run a 13.1 but I was sidelined with a pelvic stress fracture so we are going to try that 13.1 this September...

    http://runningsurvivor.blogspot.com @I Survived & Now I Run

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    1. Ouch, ouch, ouch. That does not sound good! Glad you get to try again in the fall.

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  12. Love love love this! It is my hope and dream that my baby girl will ask to run these sorts of events with us one day! And your report on it is MOST helpful! This is one of our favorite races, so I can see this being us one day. :)

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    1. I hope you do!! In K-1st, a parent gets to run with the child, and I have to say that I missed doing that this year (my kids are too old).

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  13. My daughter did the Mercedes Kids for a few years, then when she was 12 started doing the half with me.... she ran it for 3 years straight. However, I think anything under 12 you should limit to 5Ks at the most.

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  14. What a fun idea! I hope my daughter is interested in running by that age... we'll have to keep our eyes open for similar events.

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  15. We love that race! But it is so chaotic. We have decided our kids won't do any race hey have to train for (even a 5k) until high school at the earliest. That is just based on our personal life experiences, it is so hard in little growing bodies to run so much. I'm sad we didn't see you, my kids were looking for your kid

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