A few years ago, I started jogging for exercise. I’m not on any high school team, but I have been participating in something else: local races.
I’m a member of the York Road Runners Club, an organization of runners who sponsor and run in races (many of which are for charity). You do not have to be a member of the club to run in races. The races are not for serious runners only, nor do the races consist solely of a three- to six-mile run. Nearly all of them have 1-mile fun-run/walk events. Right now, I’m running in the Hanover Toyota Cup series of races; this is the third year I’ve participated in the series. The series includes five races this year, and three are left. This is what a typical race is like:
My dad, my brother and I leave for the race before eight in the morning. We always pre-register for races, so when we get there, each of us receives a small gift bag that includes a shirt. If you don’t like clothes shopping, run several races, and your drawer will be well supplied. The gift bags always contain coupons for running apparel. The bags are also my main source of pens. At the Dr. Segro 5K Race (not in the Hanover Toyota Cup series), the gift bags were full of candy, which seems somewhat counterproductive. But who doesn’t like candy? Each bag at that race also included a Boyd’s bear, a small teddy bear.
The running part of races consists, predictably, of running. For me, the difficulty of the races depends on the weather. They are hardest when the weather is hot. Rain haunts the Gettysburg Eat¥’Em Up 5K; it has rained every time I’ve run that race. But it’s still a good race, and running in the rain is nice every once in a while.
About a half hour after the race is the awards ceremony. Even not-so-great runners have a chance, especially those in middle or high school. In the last race I ran, I was the only one in my age group, so I won a medal and a bag of fruit. The awards ceremonies usually have food, and at some, Rita’s gives out free Italian ice. Most races have door prizes: Once, my dad won ballroom dancing lessons. We’ve won several door prizes over the past few years.
Registration costs $15 to $20, and participants who pre-register get a shirt. The shirt really wins me over (and the fact that my parents pay for me to register).
Look at the Web site www.yorkroadrunners.com for a list of local races; M.C. Helsabeck’s Tuesday column, “Foot Power,