My Kid Ran Her First 5K—And Inspired Her Mother To Get Moving

I’m going to go ahead and keep it 100: I got about as much athletic skill as Pookie in that rehab scene in New Jack City. You can stick me on a bike, drop me off on a track, glue a ball to my hand, and I wouldn’t know thing one what to do with any of it. I was the kid who tucked herself in the house with books, dolls and art supplies. Playing sports, doing outdoorsy stuff, going in the back yard? Not an option. To this day, my husband still teases me about the time when, as a grown woman with a baby, I walked out onto the back patio of my childhood home and said, “Hmph—it’s actually nice back here.”

Thank God, my girls aren’t the same way. Soccer, bike riding, running, basketball, softball, camping, hiking, swimming, playing with worms and miscellaneous bugs—my girls play all of that. Happily.

I don’t pretend to understand their lust for such things. But I encourage them because they like it, it’s healthy, it keeps them active and, yeah, I think it’s kinda fly that my girls can kick booty out on the field. When it comes to sports, both of my girls are kinda the business.

Which is why I’m still beaming with pride over here after my baby, Lila, ran her first 5 K! She and her best friend, Maggie, joined the running club at their school and trained twice a week in the Georgia heat to prepare for their big race. And this past Saturday, with their parents cheering them on from the sidelines (Maggie’s dad bravely ran with them), the two of them put rubber to the road and ran their race.

That’s my Lila in the picture up top, on the first leg of the race, going strong. The picture directly above this paragraph, is of my baby, exhausted and sore, crossing the finish line strong. And for kicks and giggles, I also included a video of Lila shooting hoops—backward (below). Isn’t she something else?

One aspirin, a massage and a favorite dinner later, she recovered nicely from the race—enough so that she was able to go out on the soccer field the very next day and play a game against one of her team’s biggest rivals. That’s my baby. She’s inspiring—so much so that her big sister is now looking into doing a triathlon, and I’ve started to… wait for it… jog a little. But mostly walk really fast through my neighborhood. I figure if my kid can run a 5K before she hits double digits, I can make it around a block or two.

One step at a time, folk. One step at a time.

I’m proud of you, little Lila! Mommy doesn’t mind telling the world that she thinks you’re a pretty awesome kid!


1. Women’s Professional Soccer Shuts Down—and Female Athletes, Young and Old, Are Heartbroken
2. Daddy’s Little Jocks
3. New On the Parenting Post: What Tough Girls Are Made Of
4. {Dr. Ivor Is In} Obesity, Exercise and Black Girl Hair: What We Teach Our Daughters

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Shannon Taylor

    THAT is awesome!!! Check out your local chapter of Black Girls Run!!!!! it is an empowering, motivating and FUN group to be a part of! Everyone has to start somewhere! couch to 5k is a great training plan as well! i’m running in my first quarter marathon on Saturday! I’m SO nervous and excited!!! I played sports but was never outstanding. My husband (was) and kids are SUPER athletic…running was a personal goal for me…and I LOVE it! sometimes it is just an escape to “think” for 30 minutes or so! (and it gives me that cardio they are always talking about I need!)

    anywho! good luck to you!

  2. Way to go, Lila!

    And also–it’s amazing the things we can do if we just stop telling ourselves we can’t do them.

    A year ago the husband convinced me–someone who is “not a runner”–to run a half marathon. Lo and behold, my “not a runner” self eventually found that running 5 miles felt easy, and finished the half marathon, too. On Sunday we’re running a second one, and I’m going to try to do it at a pace that 2 months ago, I would have said I couldn’t do. Will I make it? Who knows. But I’ve stopped telling myself that I’m crazy to try it, and I’m going all out.

    All that to say–if you give yourself a couple of months, I bet you’ll find that at Lila’s next 5K, you could be the parent bravely running with her.

  3. It is so good to see kids activity in sports. Especially a 5k at such a young age.

  4. That is amazing! Way to go Lila! and that pose after she shot the basket? made my day! love her sassyness!

  5. Yahoo Lila!! Super proud of you! That look on her beautiful little face speaks volumes!

    My daughter joined Girls on the Run at her elementary school and will be running her first 5K next weekend. My daughter and her team have put so much of themselves into training. I am so impressed by my daughter, the kid who wouldn’t run unless something with teeth AND claws was chasing her. She has worked through Achilles tendonitis, sore muscles, and a mild sunburn (my fault for not insisting on the hat as well as the sunblock). I too was motivated by my daughter, her team mates, and her super awesome dedicated PE teacher. I just can’t say this is ‘baby’ weight anymore. My baby is ten. years. old. This stuff was thinking about taking up permanent residence and had even started to fill out the change of address cards. I have lost 5 pounds and the baby weight has given its 30 day notice!

    Let’s go mommas! Our daughters are leading the way!

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