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Annemarie Cotton took the time to talk about how her daughter Esme has discovered running as an outlet for curiosity and coming together with her local community. Now, the entire family are dedicated runners!

“Esme’s running journey began when she started Couch to 5k, thanks to lots of encouragement and more than a little bribery. Week by week, Esme worked through the programme, listening to the app and music from her favourite films during each session (at the moment that is Cinderella and Peter Pan). Esme doesn’t like headphones, so that meant that anyone out for a walk in our local park could also enjoy the music!

10 weeks later, Esme had completed the Couch to 5k programme and was running non-stop for 30 minutes. We were so impressed and proud with her that we wanted to give her a purpose in running, so we entered the Race 4 Life 5K run in Chester to support a friend who had just finished treatment for breast cancer. Esme loved it! The cheering, the encouragement and most of all the medal.  

After the Race 4 Life we started to think about ‘What next?’ Our neighbour suggested our local ParkRun, a free 5km event that happens across the world every weekend, which Esme has thrived in. It is not always easy persuading her to get up on a Saturday morning, but it is part of her routine now (plus the smoothie before we go and bacon and eggs when we get back helps!). Esme now really enjoys running in the big ParkRun group and loves spotting the same people each week, plus the same dogs! She runs from dog to dog and asks owners questions like “What’s your dog called? How old is it? What is it’s favourite food?” – no-one seems to mind being asked the same questions each week. Esme is now a proud wearer of a ’10 ParkRuns’ t-shirt and we are counting down to the ’50’ t-shirt.

Esme is now a true runner. During the current coronavirus crisis it is now part of our ‘home-schooling’ timetable and we run most days. Esme has a chart and colours in a square for each kilometre we run – we are hoping to fill the page before she goes back to school. The positive side of really liking a routine is that once something is part of the routine it is there to stay!

– Annemarie Cotton

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