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Sports day at the ski marathon: There’s no mountain too great if you try hard!

The Tartu Marathon children’s races have for years been a part of the sports calendar of children living in substitute homes and shelters. Also, this year, there were quite many participants in the eve of the biggest winter sports festival of Estonia – those, who had been there before but also those who had just taken interest in skiing, some put on the skis for the first time in their life.

The families who once have attended the ski marathon, hardly ever miss the event again. While there have been years when the weather was not supportive of the skiers, then this year, the participants were happy about the great skiing conditions.

Joy of sports is important!

During this kind of a crowded event there is every possibility for both, the more “experienced players” as well as for first-time participants - to get lost in the crowd in excitement, and later find their family again or to be found. This means that besides the joy of sports and achievement, such events give the children a possibility to show also their independence, by assisting the smaller ones or those who are only “beginners” in the field, and support your folks. And afterwards, share your experience and be proud of yourself and each other.

Every child can pick the distance that seems the most appropriate for their skills at the moment: it is not the result what matters but the fact of participating and that one can enjoy the sport and effort. Moderate effort makes the medal even brighter and the feeling greater – the one who once gains that experience will find the will to test themselves also in the future.

Last but not least in this respect is the fact that a medal is hung around the neck of each participant of the race – this is a tangible keepsake to show to the others or hang on the wall.

Things went swimmingly

This year, the ski friends were pleased about the magnificent winter weather. After the arrival, the girls went to sign up and got their numbers. And off they went to the track! Liis-Mari gave her maximum and was pretty tired but obviously happy for the tremendous accomplishment as well as for the medal after reaching the finishing line.

Everything went smoothly also for Kerli – she put the skis on in a snap and the girl was right on track. She completed a shorter, more accomplishable track and was soon happily in the finish with a medal around her neck.

Mari-Liis was really exhausted when arriving at the finishing line. The effort was great but the bigger was the happiness about the medal and her achievement.

When there is a big brother to help...

In one family, there were two brothers participating in the ski marathon – both for the first time. Everything seemed new and interesting, yet a bit scary. Ski rental went fine. Still, just before the start, the younger one of the brothers admitted that actually, he had never skied before and doesn’t even know how... With the help of the support person, the boy nevertheless went on the track.

The pace was really slow, since besides lacking skiing skills the track was very icy and wet this year. The older brother, instead of outrunning in his own pace, stayed and waited for his slowly huffing and puffing brother and they came through the entire track together. This, a truly attitude, demonstrates well the good relations of the boys and most definitely helps to strengthen also the self-confidence of children.

The emotions taken home were as if the children had been to the Olympics and won a medal there! With pride the boys showed to those that stayed home due to being unwell the soft woollen socks given to the children as presents and told the details of their epic ski race.

Good mood and valuable experience

The brave brothers were not the only ones for whom participating in the ski race was their first experience. A family, familiar with skiing, had two kids along from another family, who had not been previously able to test their skills on a ski competition track. The other children encouraged them and told that it's not the result but the taking part that counts. The entire trip to Tartu passed by discussing the marathon.

After the arrival, the children immediately proceeded to collect their numbers, instructed those with less experience and waited for their start. Everyone left for the race in a good mood. Those who had already returned, went to cheer up their companions who were still on the ski track. The weather was nice and after the race the kids went to ski down the hill. The next day, when watching the Tartu Marathon on the TV, the feeling was quite different when cheering to the contestants, as they had just gone through all of this.

Aura is always a big hit!
After the race the children nourished themselves with a delicious meal at the hotel Dorpat restaurant. Every child who completed the race was given a beautiful pair of woollen socks. 

Many kids believed that the best prize of the day was relaxation at the Aura water centre. The visit to the water centre is much awaited each year and after the arrival, it seemed as if the children had gained some new energy and had fun in the slides, hot tub and pool, completely forgetting themselves.

The woollen socks, received as gift, were immediately put into use the same evening – a good relaxation for tired feet when driving back.

This is exactly the event where you can almost see how acting together in a sporty way that also needs some effort raises the self-confidence of children and infects some young persons, previously distant to sport, with a sport bug.

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