Three Reasons to Break Out into a Run (or at least a walk)
My producer Derek is always on the run – for exercise. I hear endlessly about his early morning training runs, trips to the mountains or the coast to participate in a themed running event, or how he often goes back to his old running shoes because he doesn’t like the newest pair he’s purchased.
I wear running shoes, but I don’t go faster than 3.1 miles per hour on the treadmill. However, the walking to nowhere can be a bit a tedious at times and doesn’t have the thrill of crossing a finish line. Should I go all-Oprah and suddenly commit to running a marathon? Maybe not, but here’s three reasons that might get me -- and others out there -- to break into a run, or at least, a brisk walk.
It’s Good for your Heart and Soul..and Sometimes There’s Chocolate
We know the benefits of walking and running on fitness: enhanced cardiovascular health, developing strength and to ward off disease. Bt participating in a 1K, 5k, 10K run/walk is also a soul-satisfying way to raise funds for your favorite charity. North Carolina offers nearly 2,000 events from which to choose – most for a good cause.
North Carolina provides as least two opportunities to run and indulge in chocolate consumption for good causes. In Asheville, you can sign up for the eighth annual Hot Chocolate 10K. Participants enjoy a cup or two of hot chocolate after crossing the finish line of the city’s flattest course. Race proceeds benefit the Parent-Teacher organization of a local area elementary school. Durham’s shorter Chocolate 5K run provides chocolate candy in the event’s goodie bag and along the race route. The race is part of a multi-city program that always includes fundraising for a charity in the host city.
If you’re not a chocoholic, head to Greenville, North Carolina for the Love a Sea Turtle Trail 5K, to help rebuild the sea turtle population, or the Humane Society Eastern North Carolina’s Canine Crawl, a benefit to support the animal safe haven.
Building Character and Learning Life Skills
Running, or any exercise program, offers the opportunity to build discipline and focus, skills that can spill over into your everyday life. With the non-profit organization Girls on the Run, based in Charlotte, NC, You could trade-in the treadmill for an opportunity to connect with young girls who are on that path to learning life lessons by getting active.
Amy Renigar, executive director of Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina, said the group is ”a character development program that uses running and physical activity to help girls get active, recognize what is unique and special about themselves and celebrate it.”
The organization sponsors teams based at community organizations such as local schools, Boys and Girls clubs, YWCA’s and public housing communities. Renigar said adult coaches lead the girls through a 12-week curriculum in twice weekly sessions. With physical activity-based games and exercises, the girls discuss important issues and topics.
“We teach girls to honor themselves and other people,” Renigar said. “ For example, in a session on gratitude the girls might discuss what the word means, and to recognize what we are grateful for rather than feeling sorry for yourself because you didn’t get the latest iPod -- all while they are engaging in movement. Research has shown that when you pair learning with physical activity, the lesson is more likely to stick.” The curriculum concludes with a non-competitive 5K event.
Take a “Run-cation”
You’ve heard the word “stay-cation,” for the times you use your vacation time to relax at home? You can now take a “run-cation,” where you travel for fun and exercise.
You can find at least 20 road races with the word “beach” in the title in North Carolina’s coastal region. Check out the series of Outer Banks races, where you can find a reason to race to the coast nearly every month of the year. Head further south to the Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Run or the Oak Island Lighthouse Run and Walk, for more waterway running adventures.
If you prefer to head west to relax and run, check out the Oskar Blues 4 miler, part of the ale trail in Asheville, North Carolina, the Fiddlin’ 5K in Mars Hill, or the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail 5K or 10 mile runs.
Tell Us: What are your reasons for running?
Become a sponsored athlete and walk, run or bike anytime for good causes – http://www.charitymiles.org
Find A Race in North Carolina – With nearly 2,000 to choose from, you’re sure to find a race fit.
U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan / Released