So I ran along with Nickel. It was time to line up at the start. I was still hovering around Z-Man, but he said that he was good and didn't need me to stand with him. I was internally freaking out and starting to tear up a little because my baby was going to tackle this big, bad course on his own. The race started, and Nickel and I cheered on Z-Man from the start.
Then it was time for Nickel and I to get ready for our 1 mile run.
We got set at the starting line and took off. Nickel ran really well on a tough cross country course and finished his mile at 9:40. He ran strong the whole time, and he finished near the top. He was probably one of the fastest kids his age, but since it was a fun run there weren't any official rankings. Now it was time to wait for Dad and Z-Man to appear. Dad came blazing across the finish line in 34th place out of 800+ runners so that was an awesome effort. Nickel ran over to give him a hug while he was still trying to catch his breath. Dad said that the course was pretty tough and that someone should go out to check on Z-Man because he might be having some trouble. I ran out to about the 0.5 mile mark where I found him. He was running really well.
He was happy to see me because he had shed his hat and wanted me to carry it. He said that he didn't need anyone to run with him so I cut across the field back towards the finish area to wait for him. I was waiting for him near the last 200 meter mark. At that point he took off and sprinted to the finish passing a lot of people on the way.
He did an awesome job finishing in 33:37 on a tough cross country course. He was the fastest 8 year old in the race and the kids who came in before him were 10+. They had run out of medals for the kids, and I was afraid that he would be disappointed. Then he said the best thing. "That's OK. I don't need a prize for running. I run because it is fun." So incredibly proud of my baby!