- This was printed in July of 2015 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 108th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.
More than 19 million people finished a running event in 2013.
We’re in the midst of the “Second Running Boom” (the first was in the 1970s)
according to Running USA, an organization that monitors race trends in the country.
Last year, more than 28,000 footraces, including 15,200 of the most popular
distance, the 5K, were held across the United States.
Because of this boom, a runner doesn’t have to travel far at all to race on any given
weekend. Valley runners may have to take a short road trip to run a full or half
marathon, which are less popular and harder to put on than a 5K, but generally
there are at least two races between 1 mile to 10 kilometers each weekend in the
It makes it really hard to choose which ones to participate in.
Here are some tips to narrow it down:
Research the cause
Typically, some portion of the proceeds of each race benefits a charity.
In Madera, the Second Wind 5K in March gives all of its proceeds to the Madera
Rescue Mission and the Madera County Food Bank.
The annual Mother’s Day Run hosted by Greater Madera Kiwanis donated a portion
of its proceeds this year to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the rest
went to local scholarship and youth programs.
The Madtown 5K hosted last month by the American Association of University
Women raised money for local scholarships and to send middle school girls to a
science and technology camp at Fresno State.
If you’re stuck deciding between two or more races, visit the event’s website or
contact its director and ask what charity the race will benefit and what portion of
the money will be donated.
Coming up on Aug. 2 is the Miguel Reyes 5K in Fresno’s Woodward Park (sign up at
https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/Fresno/MiguelReyes5k) that will benefit the
family of the late runner. Reyes, of Fresno, was killed in a car crash in March while
on his way to work. He was 38. The local running community will come together to
run in his memory.
Run to compete
When you race locally, you get to know who is in your age group and who runs close
to your pace. Friendly competition can ensue. Your opponent may know you’re
competing with them, or they may be completely oblivious — either way it’s fun!
Some races will list their registered participants, and you can take a peek to see if
your nemesis will be there. If you’re feeling in shape, register and push yourself! If
you’re recovering from an injury or just not feeling up to par, pick the other race so
you won’t feel obligated to keep up with your rival.
Go for the perks
Who can resist swag (also known as “stuff we all get”)? If I’m really having trouble
choosing between races — they are all for causes I support and I know who my
competition will be — I go for the race that will give me the best loot. How cute is
the t-shirt? Will I be treated to a beer and a koozie at the end of the run (check out
sanjoaqinrunning.com if that sounds like your cup of tea), or will there be breakfast?
Always the bargain hunter, I try to get the most bang for my buck!