I’ve run shorter distances this year. I started running the odd 5km races here and there. First it was the RAC 5km last year November, followed by my first park run in January and just recently, I ran my 4th Dischem 5km Dash. Yesterday I ran the Bestmed TUKS 5km fun run. It’s funny because I’ve started to noticed something quite unique about these races. A 5km race is just not the same as a 10km race or even a half marathon.
Here’s what I’ve observed:
- They don’t call it a fun run for nothing. No one is stressed out before the race. People are laughing, chatting, eating sandwiches. There isn’t that heavy smell of deep heat in the air. The vibe is relaxed and excited. Runners are out to have fun!
- You’re surrounded at the starting line by a mixed batch of runners, run/walkers and walkers. The age groups vary from toddlers to grannies. There are families, lovers holding hands, prams and even dogs on leashes. If you’re hoping to get a good start or a PB, make sure you line up close to the front.
- If you decide to wear your official club running shirt, you will stand out like a sore thumb. Ha ha! I certainly did. I was kitted out, even had my finger ready on my Garmin watch waiting for the gun to go off. I shot off and got stuck behind everyone in the point mentioned above. Rookie mistake. In fact 5km runners/walkers are already wearing their goodey bag t-shirts that should only really be worn after the race. Eeek! Talk about bad luck! Meh, they don’t care.
- They have no concept of the #runclean movement and throw their water sachets everywhere! The pro’s and other athletes do too. But fun runners are oblivious. It’s not uncommon for a water stop to take as long as you want either.
- The race organizers seem to think that no one cares if the 5km distance is suddenly 4.4km, as was the case with the Bestmed TUKS run. I mean, it’s not a serious run after all, right?
It’s crazy but I’ve started to love running 5km races. And somehow I blame it all on the reasons listed above. I love the freedom. I love that no one is too competitive. I love not stressing about half marathon distance cutoffs and while I struggle with plantar fasciitis, my feet are getting time to rest and recover.
Shorter distance races makes you love everything about why you started running in the first place. Because while I’m surrounded by the grannies, the dogs, the prams, the lovers holding hands, there are runners in those races who go on to run 10km, 21km and even ultra distance races. Because let’s face it, we all started out in that one fun run race. It’s where the passion was ignited and the bug bit!