By: Rick Bellanti – July, 2016
It’s that time and summer is fast approaching, which means the nicer weather will be bringing out all the competitive walkers, joggers and running enthusiasts looking for local organized fundraising events, such as 5K road races.
5K means 5 Kilometers (not 5 miles as often mistaken) so now you can relax a little bit because the distance of a 5K road race is just 3.1 miles long. 5K races are a great entry level road race for beginners and often fun to just walk and enjoy the family and friendly atmosphere a 5K road race has to offer.
I started getting involved with 5K road races about three years ago when I was hired as sound production and DJ for the road race organizers. Working it from the sidelines, I never realized the real fun I was missing out on and eventually I was encouraged by friends to sign up and register for my first 5K road race, (on Saint Patrick’s Day 2015). I soon found out they are fun to be involved in and the camaraderie amongst the participants is amazing as I soon found out walking that first 5K at 355 lbs.
My goal was to just finish, and I did, coming in second to last place out of around 400 participants, in just under an hour. Everyone involved was at the finish line cheering me on from spectators to participants…. and there, waiting for me to cross the finish line was my young daughter who is my biggest supporter and for whom I am on this weight loss journey for.
I was very intimidated at first with all these professional runners competing to win ribbons, medals and other prizes. But I soon found out the winning was in the individual person running the race for themselves whether it was for exercise, or being there for the fundraiser to raise money. It was at that point I knew I was onto something fun and really enjoy participating in.
At 51 years old, I have now participated in twenty seven 5K road races locally and also in Walt Disney World, and each one I compete against myself trying to finish at a better time; even though I know I have a long way to go to competing on a professional level and winning races,
I know that my first race set my PR (personal record) and each road race I participate in, I’m competing against my finish time from my previous race results.
There are 5K road races all year long and just about every weekend and sometimes often during the weekdays as well. You can find them online on different road race websites and by typing in your local City or State you will find many different organized events. They typically cost around $25-$45 with registration entry fees and very often you get a cool T-Shirt representing that specific race and sometimes a medal just for participating and finishing the road race course.
Register now and get outside and enjoy the weather and support local organizations and, most of all, get your heart rate up and burn some summer barbequing calories. Start at a slow pace and walk if you have to; the idea is to just finish! You’re only competing against yourself, and trust me you’ll be so exhilarated when you finish you’ll be searching for the next 5K road race to sign up for.
Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs, and has lost 153 lbs since the start of 2015. If you have any questions or comments, please post them to his Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti Facebook page and once a month he will address a few of the topics here.