As good as a win

Did you know one kilometre is 1000 metres?

Just ask my little boy.

For four hours sitting in the car travelling from Launceston to Carlton Park, he chatted away about all the events he would be taking part in at his very first Junior Surf Life Saving State Championships.

He was going to smash the 100-metre beach sprint, definitely win the flags and as for running in relay teams, well, he and his surf mates were going to win everything.  

While I kept talking about participation and being there for the team, all he could talk about were all the events he would win thanks to some terrible parenting advice given by his very competitive dad and uncle.

But the event he was most excited about was the one-kilometre beach run. 

Now one kilometre does not sound very far, but a thousand metres is massive, especially if you’re eight years old.

Preparing for this ‘long distance’ run, I explained to him that he needed to pace himself. He could just see the mark at the end of the beach which was the 500-metre turning point so he knew this would be a big task.

Well, he either completely forgot my advice or decided to run his own race, and took off from the starting line like a bat out of hell.  

The excitement of the moment saw him run in a kind of zig-zag line rather than taking the direct route.  But he was off nevertheless.

As I stood with all the other parents and surf club members, it seemed to take forever for the first little person to run back into sight. 

And about half way down the field came my little man. He looked defeated. His arms were not moving in time with his legs and his little head looked like it might just wobble off his neck.

We started screaming his name ... ‘run Charlie run’. 

The moment he heard our voices encouraging him to keep running, his little legs – which only moments before looked numb – picked up. His arms began to swing in time and his red puffy exhausted face, broke out into a huge smile.  

He took off again, unfortunately now running towards us rather than the finish line. More screaming and frantically pointing towards the end of the race – he was back on track and across the line.

Isn’t it amazing what happens when people begin to cheer you on; when the people who love you, believe you can make it even though you think you can’t.

My little surf life saver-in-training was tired, puffed out and looked a little alone running on that beach. 

But the moment he knew his family and his mates were right there with him – well that was as good as a win.

Southern Cross newsreader Jo Palmer takes a look at life in a world full of change and challenges.

Southern Cross newsreader Jo Palmer takes a look at life in a world full of change and challenges.