My daughter stood atop the podium as the first place female in the Fort Knox Spartan Competitive Kids race. I stood on top of the world. My long-legged, competitive-spirited, cross country running, motivated little filly declared that she was going for the win before we even reached the site. Going out fighting was her song of choice as we approached the parking location. Apropos.
When Spartan announced the new competitive format for the kids race earlier in the year, I was immediately intrigued. The addition of a Spartan Kids World Championship Race with qualifying criteria intrigued me even more. What effect(s) would this have on a race that historically was a ‘participation’ event? After spending the better part of half a Saturday watching and thinking about it, I came away with 4 major observations.
1. The race is now truly a race
What in years past looked more like a swarm of bugs crawling all over each other, the smaller field and the intent to race changed the scene. Although Kaitlyn had always raced the other kids, not all of them were racing her.
2. The podiums are a nice touch
Who doesn’t like to be recognized for victories?! The one interesting aspect is that the kids were very calm and composed on their stage. The adults….a little more animated. (cough cough, Jacob Bosecker, cough) Perhaps, the kids just need more experience until they realize that they should soak it all in, celebrate, and bask in the glory?!
3. A new level of awe
During the post-race collection of information from the winners, it was announced to those 6 that they had qualified for the Spartan Kids World Championship Race in Nevada. My gaze just happened to be on one fair-skinned boy at the time, and his eyes lit with wonder. I can only imagine what it must feel like to a 7th grader to qualify for a world championship race.
4. Very well organized
Hats off to the Kids Race Director. Like a dummy, I didn’t take the time to speak with him. I am aware of all the logistical issues for running a race, but add in the attention spans of kids and the insanity of overly worried parents and you have a recipe for chaos. This wasn’t. Everything from the start of the race to the awarding of medals was smooth as Sunday morning.
After the race, I had a chance to speak with the winner (in the car, on the way home) and I asked her what she thought about the race. She so eloquently replied, “It was fun”….and went back to playing with her hair.