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The Most Important Mile of my Life: Kate Harden

Kate and her son in the final stretch. "He has tears in his eyes and a forced smile on his face"
Kate and her son Drew in the final stretch of a 1-mile fun run. "He has tears in his eyes and a forced smile on his face." Thankfully, there was a happy ending to this mother-son run.

St. Louis, MO mother runner Kate Harden, 32, shares a memorable mile she shared with her son Drew.

I’ve logged many significant miles: the joy of my first double-digit run, running through the frustration of a miscarriage, the terribly wonderful first postpartum run. But my most important mile came during a 1-mile fun run with my kindergartener earlier this fall.

We were all smiles and excitement at the starting line, but our enthusiasm quickly diminished. After about .2 miles, he had had enough. He wanted to quit and kept telling me we were going too fast, even though our pace resembled a slug moving through quicksand.

We spent most of the mile walking with intermittent bursts of running. "Just run to that tree," I begged him. But no amount of cheering from me would get his feet moving faster than a shuffle. I pleaded. I cajoled. For whatever reason, his heart was not into it.

With only .1 of a mile to go, he broke down in tears. I showed him the finish line and promised him bagels and frozen custard after we crossed it, but he couldn't do it. We sat on the curb crying for a few minutes until he finally regrouped enough to run the last stretch.

It was certainly not the run I had expected, but I learned a great deal about myself as a mother during that (painful, frustrating, slow) mile. I had to set aside my type A desires and really stop to listen to my son. That mile was about spending time with him, being patient with his frustrations, and persevering when we both would have preferred heading to the car and going home.

A few minutes after the race, he gave me a big hug and said, "Mommy, even though I cried a lot, I had fun running with you. Can we do it again?"

Of course, sweetheart. Anytime.

All smiles at the finish!
All smiles at the finish!

What was (or will be) the most important mile of your life? We want to know.

We’re going to make this an ongoing feature on the website (and potentially include some important miles in our yet-to-be-named third book, out in spring of 2015). Best way to submit is to email us your story with a picture: runmother {at} gmail {dot} com with “Most Important Mile” in the subject line. Please try to keep your mile stories under 300 words. Thank you!

One response to “The Most Important Mile of my Life: Kate Harden

  1. my youngest did this at his first race, but i made him finish for a few reasons. 1. i wanted him to feel the excitement of the finish line. 2. he asked to sign up and he needed to finish what he started. 3. i wanted him to do something he didn’t think he could do. He likes to run now….it is overcoming a fear…good for you for sticking with him.

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