By: Liana Stiegler ’17, University Recreation & Wellness Communications Assistant
I love races. Just a few weeks ago I ran the Across the Bay 10k. I woke up at 5AM on a Sunday morning to join 21,000 runners crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on foot. What could possibly drive me to do such a crazy thing?
The beautiful sunrise over the Bay Bridge right before race time
Here are seven reasons why you should join me in the race craze.
1. The motivation to train. Nothing will motivate you to run more than an upcoming race. If you’re like me, you’ll get competitive with yourself and will want to beat your previous PR (personal record) every race.
2. You get to explore new places. The Across the Bay 10k is the one time every year people are permitted to cross the Bay Bridge on foot. It’s such a neat experience to run where you normally can’t! Big races in cities often shut down entire streets and even highway exits for the race course. If you sign up for a race in a place you’ve never been, you’re sure to get a great tour of the area!
3. Having fun with friends and family. I always sign up for races with a friend or a family member. It’s great to race with someone you know because you have a built-in training buddy, someone to pick up race packets with, and a teammate to keep you going during the race.
4. The camaraderie of the running community. Racing with thousands of other runners is exhilarating! In most races the participants are very enthusiastic and encouraging to everyone. And then there’s the crowd. In big races where friends and family line the streets, you get a cheering section for the whole race! People make signs, give high fives, and sometimes even bring cowbells.
5. The adrenaline rush! Most people find that they can run faster and longer in races than they normally would on an everyday run. Something about the excitement of the crowds and the pressure to race gets us running at our peak performance.
6. You get awesome stuff. Almost every race includes a free t-shirt. At the Across the Bay 10k we got cool Maryland flag medals (pictured below). I’ve won everything from free socks to gift cards at post-race celebrations.
My friend Brianna and I after crossing the finish line
7. Post-race relaxation . You’ll feel so productive after racing that you won’t feel guilty about relaxing for the rest of the day. My favorite post-race plans are brunch followed by a long nap. Plus it’s usually a good idea to take a rest day from running the day after a race.
So which race will you sign up for first? Luckily there are plenty to chose from. Here are some links with great lists of races happening in the area. Many of them offer student discounts to the registration fee.
Maryland races: http://runningintheusa.com/Race/List.aspx?State=MD
And some in DC: http://www.runningintheusa.com/Race/List.aspx?State=DC
If you don’t want to leave College Park to run, keep your eyes peeled for races on or near campus. Lots of student groups host 5ks as fundraisers.
See you at the next race!