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Twin Powers Activate: A Real-Life Fairy Tale

John (black pants) and Daphne (blue capris): Not quite sure why this is only photo taken of momentous event

Once upon a time, there were a set of twins named John and Daphne. They were the children of a mother runner who sometimes falls under the mantle of "overly competitive." John and Daphne were six years old, two months away from turning seven, with a big sister named Phoebe, who was 10 years old. Most of the time, the children were happy and loved each other greatly--but often they showcased their astounding abilities to bicker.

One weekend, the twins were signed up to run a 500-meter kids' race in a faraway town called Bend in the lovely state of Oregon. They hadn't trained specifically for the race, but all year they'd been running laps around their school. Every Tuesday morning, their mother would watch them and their classmates run and encourage them. Daphne had shown herself to be a dedicated, determined runner, doing lap after consistent lap with one of her two best friends, while her twin brother spent the time expanding his social skills, chatting with clusters of kids and occasionally running.

The morning of the race, the twins' mother pulled Daphne aside and whispered in her ear, "Daphne, I have a great deal of faith in you as a runner," the mother said, "I think you can do really well in it, maybe even win the race. Don't worry about pacing yourself like you do at school--run as fast as you can for the whole race. I'll be proud of you no matter what, but I think you can cross the line first." The mother gave no such talk to John.

When all the five-, six-, and seven-year-olds lined up for the race, the mother and Phoebe held their breath. They exchanged excited, nervous looks. In a flurry, the pack was off. Rounding the corner, about a quarter of the way through the race, Daphne was ahead of John, about 10 children from the lead. With her arms pumping furiously and her legs clipping along, Daphne looked over her shoulder; a pack of children were closing in on her. Even from a distance, her mother could see Daphne switch into a higher gear--and she started to gain on the race leaders, leaving the pack in her dust. Her mother and older sister jumped up and down with glee. Near the halfway mark, the mother and sister could see Daphne catch up with the lead group of runners.

Substitute finish chute for red carpet, running duds for evening attire, take the cat away...

After that point, the mother and Phoebe lost sight of their little racers. They weren't able to see them again until they headed down the finish chute--with John leading Daphne. The mother was astonished, since John had often stopped to walk when he, Daphne, and the mother ran together on Sundays that spring. A tall boy crossed the line first, with a few other boys close on his heels. Moments later, John and Daphne approached the finish line. Steps from the finish, Daphne turned on her afterburners, and she passed John an arm's length from the finish line.

The mother and Phoebe exchanged startled glances. Ever-wise, Phoebe immediately instructed her mother, "We need to tell them they tied; otherwise John will get mad at Daphne." The mother nodded in agreement. Phoebe and the mother waded past other parents and short runners. Greeting John and Daphne, the mother exclaimed, "Congratulations, you tied!" The boy twin immediately corrected her, saying "No, Daphne passed me at the very end--I am so proud of her!"

The mother's eyes filled with happy tears that she'd raised such capable runners--and such supportive siblings.

35 responses to “Twin Powers Activate: A Real-Life Fairy Tale

  1. Oh I just got the chills reading that. Such a sweet sweet story … I can not WAIT to watch my twins run races. Fingers crossed they will love to run as much as I do. Or at least humor me by running a few races!

  2. Fantastic! Hard to tell who came out of that day the most proud! Now, come back to this post and read it on the days they are proving their bicker skills and pushing you towards the edge of sanity.

  3. Love this! Perfect ending. And my favorite might be the part about the “overly competitive” mantle 🙂

  4. What a sweet story! it brought tears to my eyes too. isn’t there a saying “the family that runs together, stays together”? well, at for now, way to be such a great running mama!!! thanks for sharing, SBS.

  5. Awwwwwww! What a great tale. You had me all the way to the finish. Congrats to your little well-rounded, sweet athletes. Guess John needs to spirit of competition to move those legs, eh?

  6. I hope mine do that when they are old enough 🙂 But, with all the biting going on with our 2 year old twins, I might just have to keep hoping! Sweet story and one to cherish!

  7. Oh what a great story!! Congrats Daphne and John… And to you SBS for raising kids with great attitudes and sportsmanship. 🙂

  8. I love this story!!! I love how the big sister cautioned the Mom to say it was a tie… I would have done the same with our twinnies. I love how John gave props to his twin! I love how kids can surprise us. My twins will be 6 later this month. They ran their 1st race last summer. My girl blazed ahead of my boy. It will be fun to see how they do this summer. Thanks for sharing such a sweet story. I will read it to my monkeys tomorrow.

  9. Ah, this story reminds me that some siblings aren’t uber competitive like me and my sisters. We are always happy for whoever gets a PR, while secretly figuring out how we can beat them next time.

  10. Oh my, so sweet. I could totally see this as a future snap shot of my 3 year old boy/ girl twins and their older brother in 3 years:). Their personalities even fit.

  11. Just what I needed a good cry for a good reason…I knew there was another reason I love you and and the kids…will congratulate them tomorrow at school…This should be in Runner’s World…What incredible examples of incredible parents…

  12. Awesome…I agree wholeheartedly with the statement above to remind them of that moment when they are at each others throats for the umpteenth time.

  13. What a great story. It really hit home. My boy/girl twins will be four next month and have already run in a handful of kids’ races. I hope they will show each other the kind of support your kids exhibited. They really do love each other (in between all the poking and kicking).

  14. No fairsies making me cry at work! Loved every word of that story. Can I be proud of them, too, even having made no contribution whatsoever to their talent and sweetness? Way to go, BAMR (emphasis on the M in this case).

  15. How sweet! I teach 2nd grade, and unfortunately, seldom witness such supportive behavior with my students. So much goes back to what they see at home, and obviously, your kiddos see lots of love and support.

  16. Awww! I’m sure you are a proud mama in more ways than one. Seriously, there are always life lessons to be found in running, no matter what age or distance. Thanks for sharing!

  17. It brought tears to my eyes as well! I love it when kids are supportive of one another and it’s something we sometimes forget as adults. Thank you for sharing this lovely story.

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