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Choosing the right 5K

Updated on October 29, 2012
5K's are a great way to combine exercise and socializing with friends and family!
5K's are a great way to combine exercise and socializing with friends and family! | Source

Participating in a 5K can be a great social activity to do with family and friends while getting exercise, and many times supporting a great cause all at the same time.Sites such as "Running In The USA" allow you to select the race type, state, city and date that meet your needs. In addition, links are available to provide more detailed race information. With so many to choose from though, how do you go about selecting the perfect one.

A great way to reconnect with friends that have moved away and come back home to celebrate.
A great way to reconnect with friends that have moved away and come back home to celebrate.

Town Festival Runs

Almost every town has one. A community celebration that includes pageants, carnivals, parades and more. Many have started to incorporate one more run in their festivities as well. Whether a 2 Mile Fun Run, 5K, 10K, or a Half Marathon there is generally a race for all.

There are many benefits to doing a local run. For new runners, you will be familiar with the race route and can practice while training. I find it nice to be familiar with a route, recognizing markers and knowing how far it is to the end can make that first race a little easier. For those hoping to be competitive in a race doing a smaller local one can increase your chances in placing and possibly evening earning that first medal or trophy. Best of all, your friends and neighbors are along the route to cheer you on.

My daughter has participated in our towns Fun Run since she was 6 months old. What started as a stroller ride turned into an event she enjoys participating in, and strives to beat her previous time each year. This year I decided to make the move from Fun Run participant to 5K runner for the first time.

Local runs are a great family activity, way to re-connect with friends that have moved away, get some exercise and support your community all at the same time.

Some races utilize technical schools and training programs to provide free massages after the race to thank and reward their participants
Some races utilize technical schools and training programs to provide free massages after the race to thank and reward their participants
Running my first 5K with my brother was a great bonding experience for us, one we hope to continue
Running my first 5K with my brother was a great bonding experience for us, one we hope to continue

Hang Out With Your Favorite Sports Team

More and more professional teams are sponsoring races to raise funds and awareness for various charities. Many make a day of it, offering participants the opportunity to watch practice, visit the stadium, meet players, and enjoy other special events often provided by local organizations.

Being from Wisconsin, I was excited to see that my team, the Green Bay Packers had such an event. I choose the 3rd Annual Packer 5K as my first official race. My brother joined me for this fun packed day that started with watching practice and ended with me running a lap in the legendary Lambeau Field. I couldn't have asked for a better day, or race for my first 5K.

There is something cool about the Green Bay Packers welcoming your into their home!
There is something cool about the Green Bay Packers welcoming your into their home!
GLO Run Twin Cities 2012 made a great Girls Night Out for my friend and I!
GLO Run Twin Cities 2012 made a great Girls Night Out for my friend and I!

Get a Little Crazy ~ Have a Little Fun!

I have loved finding crazy, fun, exciting races to participate in. Races such as the Warrior Dash, Dirty Girl, and The Color Run allow you to have get a little crazy while getting that daily exercise. Some require you get down and dirty in the mud, some spray you with color as you complete each Kilometer and others have your relying on your fellow runner's GLO Swag to weave your wave along the trail.

These runs are when you truly see the fun come out. Crazy costumes, loud music, obstacle courses and creative costumes make these runs fun for both the runners and their cheering section. While these events usually have race clocks available, the races themselves may or may not keep official times. Some are simply for fun, others still award prizes at the end.

No matter if you are looking for a non-competitive fun race, or a fun way to push yourself to the limit these races are a blast. There is something for everyone, and a must do for all.

GLO Run ~ Twin Cities 2012 provided lots of color and fun!
GLO Run ~ Twin Cities 2012 provided lots of color and fun!

Supporting a Cause...Whatever it May Be!

Aside from being a great form of exercise, 5K's are also a great way to support causes that mean something to you. With race registrations being anywhere from $10 to $2500 there is a financial component to participating. I decided early on to take into account what the races were supporting as well as when and where they were.

There are so many benefits to running in 5K's, spending time with friends and family, healthy exercise, carefree fun, and supporting great causes. I have always enjoyed participating in local Fun Runs as a walker and am super excited that I have moved onto a race runner.

Registering for 5K's is a great way to exercise while having fun at the same time. Take time to choose ones that are a good fit for you

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