The women’s race is about to begin.
“Are you ladies going to run?” I ask, looking at the row of mothers sitting on the sidelines. They all cross their arms, shake their heads emphatically and remain firmly attached to their chairs.
“What about you? You could have a go,” one woman challenges back.
“But I’m the oldest here,” I protest. “You’re all much younger than me.”
Then Imogen appears. “Come on Mum. The race is about to start. You are going to run, aren’t you?”
“But I’m not dressed for running,” I say looking down at my long skirt and boots. “I can’t run in these clothes.”
 Or can I? A wild thought comes into my head. Shall I do the usual mother thing and stay safely on the side lines? Or shall I be daring? Should I throw caution to the wind and do the unexpected? I imagine flying through the air, my children cheering me on. I shall feel wonderful as I cross the finish line.
 My decision is made. Imogen smiles as I take my place with all the other daring mums. Yes, I can do it. Probably no one knows I can still run. I‘m going to surprise them all. I will be spectacular.
Ready. Set. Go.
We are off. I can feel the breeze on my face as I race through the air. I am moving beautifully. My arms are pumping.  I am spectacular. For a full five metres, I am poetry in motion. And then… my feet slip from underneath me. I am doing the unexpected. I am flying towards the ground.  Splat! Yes, I hit the ground in one huge, spectacular, surprising splat.
I lie still and Michele abandons the race and comes to my aid. “Sue! Are you OK?” I think for a few seconds, “Am I OK? “
 Then I realise what I’m feeling is not pain but embarrassment. I look up at the anxious faces around me and then I smile and I jump up quickly. “I’m fine. It was my boots. They’re not designed for running. I should have run bare foot.” I am anxious to explain: it was the boots, not me.  Everyone looks relieved and although no one laughs, I feel a bit foolish.
I am coated in dirt from head to foot. Someone kindly dusts me down. Imogen insists on examining me for injuries but finds only two gravel rash hands.
“I told you I wasn’t dressed for running,” I say again feeling very silly.
Later as we are travelling home we start talking about the athletics carnival.
Sophie: “I came first in the cross country race and third in the sprints.”
Imogen: “I came second in my race.”
Charlotte: “Our relay team came dead last but we tried!”
Gemma-Rose: “I ran two laps.”
Andy: “I don’t know where I came in the fathers’ race but I beat Uncle Anthony and that’s all that matters.”
Me: “I went splat! No one else went splat like me!”
I sit quietly thinking. I wanted to surprise them all. I wanted to be spectacular. Well, that splat was certainly spectacular.  I’d imagined flying across the finish line in triumph. Instead I ended up flat on the ground covered in dirt. Perhaps I should have just stayed safely on the sidelines with the sensible mothers. I wouldn’t have ended up feeling so embarrassed.
Why do we get so embarrassed when we fail? Do we really look as silly as we feel? And how much fun are we missing out on as we sit safely on the sidelines, too afraid to get involved?
“Are you going to try again next year, Mum?” Sophie asks. “Will you race again?”
I am silent for a few moments. Will I play it safe or will I take a risk?
“Next year, I’m not going to run in boots. I am going to wear proper running shoes.”
The girls smile at me. “You’ll be spectacular Mum!”
Spectacular? Well, maybe not. But I will have fun.
Congratulations to all the daring mothers who made it to the finish line. Thank you, Gae for stepping over me and not on me. And a special thank you to Michele who should be awarded the Good Samaritan Medal for giving up her chance of winning the race in order to come to my aid.
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  1. good on you Sue!! glad they're giving the mothers a chance to run as well as the kids! better luck next time!
    Elizabeth F

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  2. I guess if I'd done the unexpected and won the race, I wouldn't have had such a good story to tell. But next year... Thank you for reading, Elizabeth. God bless!

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  3. It was the best splat I've ever seen Mum. But next year, with the right shoes, I bet you'll give the young mums a run for their money.

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  4. Thank you Immy. Daughters can be so encouraging!

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  5. I missed the race! I was probably getting hot chocolate to warm my hands. I would have raced with you, and happily come last as I cannot run to save myself!
    I bet the fall was worth it to hear your daughter's beautiful comment.

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  6. We'll run together next year, Tricia. Yes, I think I really wanted to run because of my children. They are so encouraging and thrilled when I throw off my sensible self and do something daring or fun. God bless!

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  7. Hi Sue, you are a spectacular mom for throwing caution into the wind and joining the race! You've got guts!! I like your new template background. Very pretty!

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  8. Thank you, Noreen. Yes, all the daring mums who were willing to have a go were spectacular.

    There are so many gorgeous backgrounds available I just had to try another one out. It's part of the fun of blogging, don't you agree?

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  9. Sue it was certainly something I was pleased I missed, because I would have been the one splatting instead or maybe with you.!!!!

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  10. I absolutely agree! I'm just not good at changing mine... perhaps I will one day! Yours is an inspiration!

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  11. Next year I will come and find you, Leanne and then we can run or splat together!

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