Running a half marathon… with a pram

Hubby and I ran a half marathon the other weekend… with a pram… and 2 x two-year-olds.
As usual, we had delusions about “how great” and “how easy” it would be.
Would we run a half marathon with a pram again? You bet!
Would we run a half marathon with a pram filled with 2 two-year-old twins? Probably not! Haha. How is that for honesty for you?! I love half marathons, and I love my kids, but I don’t know if I love them together. Kind of like vegemite and lettuce sandwiches*. Some combos of things just don’t fly the way you think they might.

There were some really fun moments, but there were also some hard moments in the race.

Here are my tips if you are thinking about partaking in half marathon racing with prams:

Ignore your time.
We had delusions about a good race time. Hubby had calculated my PB half marathon time plus 6 minutes extra for possible stops. This was way off. We ended up finishing at my PB time plus just over a half hour. There was lots of stops. Especially in the second half of the race. In the last 5km we were stopped for more time than we were running. We clock watched for the first 14km as it looked like we could still make our initial goal if we pushed on. But then the kids went a bit loco and we both essentially ignored the race time and just concentrated on having fun.
You do not need a ‘running’ pram.
We have a Mountain Buggy ‘Duo’ double pram. It is not a proper running pram, although it has pump tyres. It is excellent to run with and did the job well on the day.

Remember it is a pram and not a ram.
Don’t forget that P. We started at the very back of the field and were the last competitors to cross the start line. We did our absolute best to stay out of other competitors way. People train for months and months for these races and we both went into the race agreeing that we did not want beast pram and our motley crew to get in the way of anyone else competing. We saw ourselves as ‘secondary’ competitors and often came to a stop or ran on the grass to avoid the pram creating bottlenecks on the course. Not everyone will agree with this approach, but it worked for us. All the other competitors were LOVELY. We had so many conversations on the course with other runners. The pram was a big conversation starter. As were the headless dolls, toy cars, and colouring-in books pegged out of the pram at random intervals.

Bribery FTW.
It was essentially a morning of solid bribery. Prior to the race I did a big shop at the $2 stores and bought random toys and put together ‘show bags’ for the kids. We chucked these into the pram at random intervals during the race. A bag of cars, a bag of colouring-in and stickers, a bag of unicorns, a bag of fake not-quite-look-alikes of all the Pixar characters… you get the idea. This was a winner and prevented all-out pram tantrums (for the most part). Don’t go too cheap however in the toy selection like I did… I bought a bag of 5 dolls for $1… their heads came off and baby-girl lost it. Whoops. Maybe go for the bag of 5 dolls for $2 instead ;)

Snacking.
Like the show bags of toys, we took little packs of snacks for the kids. They normally eat quite healthy, but for the race we gave them lots of little treats they do not normally have, just to keep them a bit more entertained. Bags of tiny teddies, lollies, and jatz biscuits were winners, along with their favourite yoghurt squeezy packs.

Easiest bag drop of an event EVER.
None of the usual pre-race bag drop chaos was experienced in the race. The fact that we had a pram with us to jam all our gear was a real highlight. It also meant we could run with water and food for us, without having to jam it into running belts or wait for set water stops along the course for a drink.

Kids go loco.
As mentioned our kids went a bit loco in the second half of the race. They were doing well until we had to run past a park. Oh dear. Then they just wanted to get out and play. Unfortunately for us/them, we had to run past that park 4 times in the race. Ouch. Our son did well, mainly due to the ongoing supply for sugary food treats and views of the motorbikes out on the course. Our daughter however was totally over it by the end. We made a decision to keep them in the pram and just stop along the way chatting to them and playing with them, as we knew if we took them out of the pram on course we would have no chance of getting them back in the pram – pair of plankers. Towards the end of the race we were doing whatever we could think of to entertain the kids. That included hubby pulling the pram backwards behind him while I ran after him (and the kids) being a monster/dinosaur/shark chasing them with big chomping arms. It also included flinging my new lip balms into the pram in the last 2km to entertain baby girl. The sacrifices mothers make ;) ha.
You might have to separate on course.
Hubby is a much faster runner than I am, about twice as fast actually (this race was over an hour ten longer than he usually finishes a half marathon in). We used this to our benefit, and when we knew the kids needed a stop, he would run ahead with the pram and stop, while I (more slowly) ran up to where they had stopped. That way a ten minute stop would only add about 5 minutes to our overall race time. We also did this trick the other way too. At times when the kids needed a quick stop, I would run ahead while hubby stopped with them, and then he would sprint up to me with the pram. As a result hubby did most of the pram pushing.
Enjoy the finish.
About 100 metres before the finish line, we stopped and got the twins out of the pram, wiped all the lipbalm/chocolate/boogers off their faces, checked their nappies, and let them both run across the finish line. They loved this sick, and it was a moment that both hubby and I adored and will probably remember forever. All the tears from the race were forgotten as they said “look meeeeeeee mummy” and galloped across the finish line. Baby girl loved the medal she got for finishing “look my prippy race necklace”. Baby boy did not care so much for his race necklace, but he did think the all-you-can-eat watermelon was the bomb.
There were some amazing fathers who were out on course running the full marathon with single running prams that we saw a few times. They were inspiring and had decorated their prams and were running in costumes. Their kids looked a bit older (and happier) than our 2 year olds, and they were flying along. Seeing them out there was a highlight of the day for me.
So yeah, that was our race. It wasn’t the perfect race we had imagined, but it was what it was. I am still really glad we did it as a family. I don’t think I would do another half marathon with a pram and two-year-olds. Maybe when they are a bit older and I can give them an ipad each to entertain themselves it might work better. Or maybe another pram race while they are young, but a shorter distance like a 10km.