Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why you should run community races

On Saturday morning, I ran my third race of my #runningformissvirginia tour -- the Falcon 5k sponsored by the Flint Hill Elementary School PTA. While I was enjoying my race on Saturday, I was thinking about a fun way to blog about it (obviously). I thought a top four list might be fun -- both as a recap and as a way to inspire you to find a 5k out in your community to run.

When I say community race, I mean one that's sponsored by a small community organization - a church, a school, even a local animal shelter. It's probably the only one of its kind, and you're probably running with maybe 500 people max. You might not even get a t-shirt (I registered late and didn't get one until after the race today), but you will definitely have a good time.

The Top Four Reasons to Run a Community Race
  1. You'll be running with people who are truly passionate about the cause you're running for. With smaller races, the advertising is typically local outreach or grassroots advertising by the people who work with the organization. This means that you are surrounded by people who care a lot about whatever you're running for. That passion is contagious, and it makes the run a lot more fun. Today, for example, I ran with about 300 elementary school students and their parents, and the money benefited those kids. I was able to focus more on high fiving the kids as they passed me (and stopping at the stand manned by a couple students labeled "Free Water") and less on trying to PR.
  2. You can feel good knowing that most of your race fee is going to the title cause. Because there are fewer bells and whistles, more of your money is going to the cause, and less to putting on a show of a race. Don't get me wrong, I love the "show of a race"s too, but it is nice knowing that a large chunk of my money going to something important.
  3. What you don't get in pre-race swag, you might get in post-race swag. Smaller races mean you have a better shot at placing, at least in your age division. Today, I won my age group. I have only placed in my division twice before, and I have run a lot of 5ks. If you want to feel totally awesome and you're in your 20s, go run a 5k benefiting an elementary school... turns out these are not hot spots for people our age :)
    That 1/1 is the real deal!!
  4. There's a lot of cute and inspiring personalized things. Things like: chalk messages cheering you on on the road, spectators out clapping, even your name being read out at the finish line. These are small things, but they're really only possible at smaller races.
    Loved the chalk messages! Lots of personalized messages for all of the classes too!
Thanks for a great run, Flint Hill Elementary! I will certainly be back and running again next year :) 
Thanks to my mom for being my awesome supported and capturing cool finish line shots that make me look way faster than I am.


  1. They are also super inexpensive and you can find local running buddies that you wouldn't have found being a solo runner!

    1. The super inexpensive is so true! I registered for this one two days before and it was only $20. Amazing.

  2. WTG!!! That's awesome you placed first in your age division. :)

    1. Thanks Beckyleigh! Even though there weren't many people, I will certainly take it.. It's like a turning point in my running career :)