Runner Spotlight: Madison Christmann, Reading, PA

Runner Spotlight: Madison Christmann, Reading, PA

Madison Christmann is in Kindergarten and runs the 1/4 mile race in Reading, PA. She had an amazing journey this season, showing dedication, perseverance, and commitment!. Read her story, as told by her mother, Stephanie. Spoiler alert: “… she confirmed what we all knew: if you show up, never give up, and keep pushing through, you WILL succeed.” Congratulations, Madison! We are so proud of you! 

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The first week we just let her run to gauge the situation. She found a school friend and raced alongside her to place around the middle of the pack. First week time: 2:07.  

 

We discussed giving it a little more gas for the second week, which she did – and consequently got a side stitch. We cheered her on to push through, which she did. She was proud of herself, but I instantly knew it would be a new hurdle. Second week time: 2:10. 

 

As the third week approached, Madi expressed concern about getting a cramp. We talked through stretches, drinking water, and breathing techniques. It was a rainy day and not awesome conditions for running. As she rounded the 1/4 mile corner, I could see her slow down and stop for a brief second. I was there to encourage her to push through, and she did. She cried a little near the end because of the discomfort but told us she thought to herself, “Never give up!” Third week time improved, even with the cramp break: 2:05.  

 

Now I was really worried she would not want to run for fear of getting a cramp. We drank water all day and tried a new approach of pacing. Explaining how to start out slowly and speed up later. But that is a difficult concept for a five-year-old! She understood in theory but took it a little too literally. Madi started week four by jogging and never made it past last place. She was still smiling as she finished because she didn’t get a cramp, but she also finished last. There had to be an answer in there somewhere! Fourth week: 2:22. 

 

Week five fell on Mother’s Day so Madison had a whole cheering section of family since we were due to have dinner together afterwards. She wore a purple tutu to celebrate the last race and was in a great mood. She had been drinking water with electrolyte drops all day, had a good meal, and had even practiced on the treadmill with daddy’s supervision to see just how fast she COULD go. Since we were there earlier than normal, Madi did all the previous race warm ups while waiting for her own. We talked one last time through breathing and pacing. She nodded and repeated everything back perfectly. 

 

When the race started, that purple tutu took off. I ran to my usual corner and when I looked to find her on the course, she was pulling into the lead. She kept that lead and separated even farther and farther ahead. I was in disbelief. She was doing it! She slowed down near the very end, and I was afraid she would lose steam before she crossed the finish line but she pushed through all the way past the ribbon. Fifth week time: 1:53. 

 

What a rush! I was crying, our whole family was there, and she confirmed what we all knew: if you show up, never give up, and keep pushing through, you WILL succeed. She didn’t receive a trophy for placing, but the end result was actually much better. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next year!

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