As I mentioned in a previous post, it wasn’t until I had been running for about 6 or so years that I finally decided to run in a race. I never timed myself, never ran for speed, never cared about fancy running clothes. I also never had a very competitive personality and I was afraid that racing to take the fun out of running.
I signed up for a local 5K in 2009 to support a cause I felt a strong connection with. I moved on to complete my first half-marathon in January of 2011 and it was all downhill from there – I became addicted! I finally completed my first full marathon in January of 2013 and have been running 10+ mile runs every weekend ever since. But enough about me, let’s talk about the amazing event that is the RACE!
Races bring an element to running that you just can’t get by running alone in your neighborhood or local park. The energy is unmatched and there is a sort of unspoken bond among all runners that lets everyone know they are not alone.
Hands down, the BEST thing about races has to be the amazing spectators. Between the cheering, clapping and hilarious signs (see above), they are the people that get me through races. When you feel like you can’t possibly move one more step and a complete stranger cheers for you (sometimes even calling out your name because it’s on your race bib) – a burst of energy suddenly finds you and forces you to push on.
Also, think about it…those people didn’t have to get up at 6am just to hold a sign or shake a cowbell for 2+ hours. True, they are probably there for someone other than you, but that doesn’t mean they have to hoot & holler when you and everyone else goes by too. To me, that actually sounds more painful than running the race, they are some awesome people. They may be doing it because us runners inspire them – but their selflessness is what inspires me at races.
If you haven’t gotten the chance to experience this incredible racing atmosphere, please do so. Whether it’s a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon, the energy and excitement is there and it’s undeniable. And don’t worry about the nerves…being nervous is completely normal – whether it’s your 1st, 2nd or 10th race. Being nervous makes the reward at the end that much more worth it :).