RUN FOR FAMILY – The Spark Which Fired us To Race
by Veronika Christodoulides
Nearly 50 runners, ranging from two months to over fifty, participated in the Birth Forward – Run for Family last Saturday. They ran the 5 km race as team “Birth Forward” at the Limassol Marathon with literally thousands of others. An absolutely energising and empowering event for every runner who participated. I feel so grateful and inspired to have been amongst so many who devoted their time and effort. For many we really pushed our limits for the cause of Birth Forward.
Running Despite Night Shifts and Sleepless Babies
We had a midwife that came straight from a night shift which finished at 6:30am in Nicosia to join us at 8am in Limassol. She outran us all and finished first in our team. “I am not surprised. She stayed with me through the whole of my 30 hour of labour.” Said a new mum, who had only given birth four month ago. She was also one of the first in team Birth Forward to finish the race
Night shifts because of sleepless children is something that probably most parents can tell you about. One mother texted me the night after the race “I am really proud of myself for today! Totally unfit, with three hours of sleep, well out of my comfort zone, I went and did it and raised €300 for Birth Forward….. Thank you so much!” Another racer, a new parent of a two month old baby, still struggling in that several hours awake every night phase of parenthood, walked the event with her buggy and baby in sling. She was so happy that the little boy made it without a fuss and got back to breastfeeding him as soon as she passed the finishing line.
Doing It As A Team
Being part of a team plays such an important role when going through something challenging, whether it is the transition into parenthood and bringing up children, or running a race.
At the beginning of the race my experienced running friend, mother of five, told me “you need to pick yourself a person in front of you to follow, a pacemaker.” This would make it much easier for me to maintain my pace. So my pacemaker, Anastasia, in her pink Birth Forward t-shirt running ahead of me helped me keep my time. That was a great piece of advice. Running together over the finish line with my fellow Birth Forward ambassador Ioli, who gave birth with a VBAC four months earlier to her second child, was something really special. This team never fails to inspire me and calls for much admiration.
Very much like birth, or any big challenge with your child, there are times when you think “I have to slow down”. “I am not sure I can do this”. That extra little loving encouragement can make all the difference and push you over that mountain to continue. As another participating midwife said after the race “At 1.5 km, I wasn’t sure I could do this and was about to give up. But then I saw my other team members running, encouraging me and that was all I needed to keep me going until the end.”
So many participated as a whole family. Many Dads and Mums supported their partners by staying behind, or walked with the kids while the other ran for the family. They say it takes a village to bring up children, and it’s this teamwork of the core family that gives our kids a strong base to start from.
Even during the race, we had our brave Julia, running with a pushchair with her four month old baby inside. Fellow team members would pass by and push the baby a few meters. It would give her back a break during the run. Well done to all parents pushing their little or not so little kids through the race! The older kids loved it. I’m sure the experience of getting their medals will stay with them for a long time.
Healthy Lifestyle – A Role Model to Your Child
Having children, as well as for many of us balancing this with developing our professional careers, can feel like the rush hour of our lives, and it’s hard to keep up with excercise and a healthy diet. At the end of a long working day, with barely a coffee break, and laundry still waiting for you, and the only thing you are longing for is your bed (if you haven’t fallen asleep while putting your kids down already) is really hard.
It’s especially at these times it’s so important to take care of our own wellbeing, so as to perform our best. Excercise and healthy eating can positively impact both our emotional and physical state of being, and can help to combat the exhaustion in our systems. A bad diet for instance, can make you more tired as well as make your child’s behaviour seem more challenging.
Being a parent is the most difficult job in the world. Whatever we do, it will never be perfect, but still we aim to be the best we can be. Sometimes that may mean taking care of ourselves and leaving the house in a mess. It’s not only important what we say to them, but how we live as role models for our children. Teaching them a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and exercise, healthy relationships and teamwork, standing up for our values…. it all starts with us as parents demonstrating to them as role models.
Join Us Next Time
Join us next time and get infected with the running virus, like our volunteer marathon event Project Manager Jet. She participated two years ago after the challenging birth of her son. The running really got her into the whole healthy lifestyle and she has already participated in four races since then.
Do you also want to support our cause? Like these runners did and many of their friends and family who sponsored them. You can still donate here.