One of the perks of running is you get to meet all kinds of people from all over the country. I’ve run races with only 50 people and I’ve run races with hundreds of people crammed between the sidewalks.
There is something about preparing to run any length of distance that brings people together.
Some people run races to beat a specific time, some run to beat that voice in their head that says they are too fat or too slow to run against others, some run for fun and some run for health. But that’s the thing; everyone out there has a goal. That’s one way you’re all similar.
Some of my best friends came from running cross country in high school. Day in and day out, we would run the roads by our high school and talk about everything from the race on Saturday to cute boys in our history class. Had it not been for cross country and track, I would not have some of these friendships. Running is what brought, and kept, us together.
The end of my senior, I ran in the Kentucky Senior Challenge -- a race for selected high school cross country seniors in Kentucky. I was put on a team with three other girls from my high school and about eight other girls. We didn't know each other and the only time we had to talk was during our warm up and stretching.
But we all had a bond; we loved to run.
By the end of the day after the race was over, we had our medals and was ready to depart we all laughed and hugged each other like we had been friends for years. That’s what the bond of running can do. It’s makes strangers instant friends.
My dad started running 5ks after I got the running bug and he met people who were like him: not fast, determined to finish and outside running to enjoy the day. I got to share something I love with someone I love. That’s what is great about running -- once someone catches the running bug, it spreads like wildfire.
This is why community races are so great. They are usually cheap, low-key, and you get to meet all kinds of new people who you at least have one thing in common -- running. Plus, small town 5ks are usually small enough where there is a good chance you will place in your age group.
I'm in a sorority (Kappa Delta), and my twin loves to run. Talking about 10-milers and half marathons was our first connection and from there we became instant best friends. Talking about blisters, hydration, tripping on trail runs to personal bests, our friendship was based on the foundation of running. We ran 5ks to support fraternities on campus and half marathons for fun. Running was our connection.
So if you have never run in a small community race, I encourage you to do so. They are full of friendly people, free food, and awesome t-shirts. Plus, community races are usually a lot cheaper than races in bigger cities (hint: the shorter the distance, the cheaper the race)
So check out a local color run, or 10-miler and see what you think.
What are your favorite races to run? Costume or theme races? Intense half marathons? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
Run happy! Meghann