They call them a race - but unless you are an elite runner, there is no race. Here are 10 reasons YOU should still sign up for a 5K:
1. You get a free T-shirt - After you pay the entry fee (usually about $20) you get a free T-shirt AND you get free exercise. It’s a win-win!
2. There are always walkers - You do not have to be a runner to “run” a race. There are always walkers. Some walk fast, some stroll….I am always jealous of the group of girls that come out just to walk the race together…I wish I could get my friends to wake up that early and participate (though I once talked my Mom into walking a race with me and it is probably my favorite race I have ever done.) You will never have to walk a race alone. And people cheer for the walkers just as much as they do for the runners.
3. There is usually great scenery - Most 5K races are routed along the beautiful local scenery. Whether it be a beach, through city streets or even through a stadium. There are a few races in Indianapolis, for example, where the race starts and ends on the Indy 500 racetrack. I’ve done a few races that end in baseball stadiums. I’ve raced through Sea World and Universal Studios. Sometimes though, you may get stuck running on a highway or through a not-so-desirable part of town – just check the route before you sign up. Although we once ran a 5K on a newly constructed highway here in Orlando before it was opened to cars- every time we get on that highway now (in a car) I always say “Remember when we ran on this road?” Kinda cool……(unless you are Chad and have to hear it every time we get on that highway.)
4. Free entertainment - You get all types at races. Some people wear crazy costumes..tutus..reindeer (in July)..we saw a guy dressed as Beaker of the Muppets in Savannah. There is usually a firefighter or two that runs the race in full gear- pretty impressive and inspiring. Even if you don’t want to participate in the race it is really cool just to come out and look at the people. Plus, many races have local bands and singers that line the race route to entertain the runners/walkers. It’s like a free festival concert…you just have to run/walk to see the next band.
5. Most races are for charity - I am not sure if I have ever seen a race that didn’t benefit a charity. So you can come out and run or walk for a good cause.
6. It is inspiring - I tear up about every time I cross the finish line. Running and/or walking 3.1 miles is quite an accomplishment. I love watching other people cross the finish line – I love seeing the people who have finished their first race especially when they break out into full on happy crying- gets me every time. Plus it is pretty cool to see so many people gather together to accomplish just one thing- finishing the race. AND – it is really inspiring when you cross the finish line and people are cheering for you.
7. You become part of an elite group - When we travel for a race we will always go out for dinner later after the race. It is really neat to see everyone wearing their race T-shirts (provided they didn’t actually wear it in the race earlier that day) – or to see all the people donning their medals around their neck. (though usually medals are giving after a half or full marathon- only once have I gotten a medal after a 5K) It is very easy to make new friends because you know you already have something in common.
8. Free swag/massage - Most every race has a “Runner’s Village”. Here you will find all the race sponsors who set up booths and have all kinds of free swag bearing their logos – sometimes it is basics like pens, chapstick, keychains etc. Other times there are really cool things like books, piggy banks or towels. And most of the time there is a booth set up for free massages by a local chiropractor or physical therapist.
(disclaimer - if you are at a race and can’t find the chapstick – it is probably because I already hit that booth and took the chapstick…..ALL OF IT)
9. Free breakfast - There are always oranges, bananas, bagels and juices given out when you cross the finish line. I have been to events where participants got a full pancake breakfast or a pizza lunch after.
10. You can eat ice cream - and not feel guilty…YOU JUST FINISHED 3.1 MILES!!!
So google 5K races in your area and sign up! You won’t regret it…you may even be real proud to wear your T-shirt out on the town knowing what you have accomplished….