A friend was in town for a short-term work contract. We’d worked out together while she was in town before, but always in the gym. Lifting, or circuits, that kind of thing. But since her last contract, I’d been doing quite a bit of running and had a 5K (The Paige’s Butterfly Run, to be precise) coming up and I was hoping she’d want to run it with me.
Here’s the thing, my friend (who I’ll call Betty for this post) had never run an organized running event before and wasn’t sure what distance she was comfortable running. But regardless, I talked her into it and got her registered at the very last minute and we were off to the starting line.
A lot of people are like Betty and have never run a race before. Some people haven’t because they think they won’t win, and what’s the point in running a race if there’s no chance you’ll win? Some people haven’t because they feel they can run around their block for free (but rarely or never do), so why should they sign up for a race to run? And some people haven’t because they think they’re not “runners” or they’re not good enough at running.
These are all bad reasons to not run a race.
- It’s not about winning. If the races were about winning, then every race would have only a very small handful of participants who what it takes to win a race. But that’s not the case. Most races have hundreds or thousands of participants. Larger cities have races with limits on how many runners can participate. Surely, thousands of runners don’t run a race each thinking they’re going to win?
- You don’t have to be “good at running” … plenty of people don’t even run these races, they walk them! There are lots of reasons non-runners choose to participate including to support a cause, to spend time with friends, to explore new hobbies, and countless other reasons!
On the flip side of that coin, there are plenty of great reasons to run a race, especially if you haven’t before.
- It’s a great way of giving yourself a goal with a deadline. This is an exceptionally good way of setting a fitness goal while holding yourself accountable.
- Running communities tend to be overwhelmingly positive, and it may be just the boost you need to get you excited about running or just about your fitness goals in general.
- Running is a simple exercise with a lower barrier to entry and finding ways to incentivize running can be a great way to keep you engaged with what is ultimately a fantastic form of exercise.
For me, it was seeing the look on Betty’s face when she crossed the finish line. It was at that moment when she realized that she did something she didn’t know she could do. When she discovered that she was capable of more than she thought. There’s nothing more powerful than that moment. And I’m so grateful that I was able to be there to experience it.