Race Research

Last Saturday I got my tired self out of bed and into the car early, then drove seven miles and parked under a shade tree.  It was warm in NEPA–too warm to participate in a foot race, I thought. But, then again, I wouldn’t be running. Instead, I was doing research.  I grabbed my camera and a notebook and pen and made my way to the start line for the 10K, already in progress.  There would be a 5K beginning in about an hour, but before that a children’s Fun Run was scheduled.  I was excited and ready to record my thoughts.








I headed over to the registration table straight away and introduced myself, telling the volunteer I talked to that I was doing research in anticipation of organizing my own race.

350 runners means 350 race bags to fill

The kind woman manning the table explained the race packs to me, handed me a flyer for another race to occur in two weeks (I have volunteered to help clean up after that event), and shared some info with me about the township/boro regulations for races that I will have to check out in the future.  I hope she is wrong, because she told me that only three races will be issued permits for the boro this year, which is a problem, since this route is well-known and therefore the route I had hoped to use for my race.

Oh, I hope she’s wrong!

I took lots of pictures while at the race, mainly because I knew they would jog my memory later, and I wouldn’t have to make as many notes, but then I made two pages of notes.  Some discoveries I made include the fact that this race provided 3 port-a-potties for runner, one large trash bin for waste, a tent of professionals giving free massages before and after the race, a food tent that included bottled water on ice, and a paid professional keeping time for the event and providing electronic records for the runners.

I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to attend the race.  Like I said, I’ve never been to a race before.  What I saw was a well-organized event, with a lot of participants, and a large and helpful staff of volunteers. What I “felt” as I milled around with camera in hand was this kinship between runners that I hadn’t seen before, and a spirit of competition that I had not felt since childhood.  I got misty-eyed a couple times.

When I observed runners cheering each other on even though they were competing against one another.


When couples stood, concerned and waiting at the finish line for their loved ones to come around that last corner, and head down the home stretch.


When tikes no more than 2 yrs old kept pace with their grandpa and/or parent, in order to cross the finish line.

this lil guy was 2 yrs old

this lil guy was 2 yrs old

When two skinny lil, pencil-legged brothers-perhaps twins-stretched on the lawn, their Captain America and Superman t-shirts revealing another love that filled their days.

Captain America's sidekick was Superman, to his left






When a mom with her 3 month-old crossed the finish line in the 10K, stroller in tow. My word—how does a new mom do something like that? I was astonished by her.


When the air fairly dripped with support, something I personally find encouraging and could use more of in my life.

I left the race having gained valuable information about the running community, and what it takes to pull off a race of this magnitude.  I also had a new appreciation for competition, determination, perseverance, and the freedom a healthy lifestyle provides for all those who are willing to do the hard work to pursue running.

I have one more race on my schedule for May 24th.  At this event I will be observing again, but also working with the clean-up crew to spruce up after the race has ended. It will be interesting to see the differences between this race and the one I attended last weekend. This race is running for the first time this year. Last weekend’s race was a 30th anniversary event. Huge difference in scope for these two fund-raisers. I can’t wait.  I’ll report on what I find out next week.

Have you ever run a 5K or 10K race? If you don’t run, what do you do to keep fit?