Mums and Dads, it’s that time of year again! You’ve spent the day cheering on your little athletes, revelling in their victories and consoling them in their defeats. But just when you thought the fun was winding down, you hear it over the loudspeaker: “Parents race… in 10 minutes!”

Elite Physical Medicine News Sports Day Parent Race

Suddenly, children descend, there's pleading, there's dragging, and there's a whole lot of indifference as parents shuffle to the starting line.

High heels are kicked off, crocs are switched to "sport mode" (yes, apparently that's a thing), and dads are regretting their brogues. Meanwhile, the smug mums who just came from the gym, still in their active wear, are ready to dominate.

As the nervous laughter dies down and the competitive spirit kicks in (it's been a whole 12 months since last year's race, after all), parents steal a glance at their expectant children and realize they have no choice but to give it their all. Sixty meters stand between them and hero status in their child's eyes, not to mention a year's worth of bragging rights at the school gate.

And then, the proverbial hits the fan

Linford Christie once famously talked about the importance of a good start, but all too often, the "B" of the bang is quickly followed by the "T" of a tear and the "R" of a rupture. The “C” of a casualty is writhing on the ground with a teacher screaming for an ice pack.

Every year at Elite they come through our door. Ruptured hamstrings, ruptured achilles, torn calfs and sprained ankles. I do not embellish, its an annual trend.

So why does it happen? Well, simply put, our bodies aren't used to this kind of sudden burst of stress. Our muscles and tendons aren't prepared for the explosive power required to sprint 60 meters in a pair of crocs, sports mode or not.

So, what's the solution? Should we just say no to the parents race and kill all the fun? Well, maybe. But if you're determined to take part, at least come prepared. Put on some proper running attire, maybe sneak in a quick warm-up jog beforehand, and whatever you do, skip the stretching – it's not going to help now.

And to all the coaches and teachers out there, maybe consider swapping the parents race for an egg and spoon race next year. It might not be as exhilarating, but at least it's less likely to end in tears (sorry, couldn’t resist)

So, to all the parents, we strongly advise you to think twice before accepting your child's invitation to the parents race. And if you do decide to go for it, just remember: it's all fun and games until someone pulls a hammy!