Racing is good fun

By Fred Deckert


For every runner I see at races I would estimate I see perhaps 5 other unfamiliar faces running around the roads. It seems that many folks are taking to heart the “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” On the other hand I often see two or three women running together and evidently having a great time socializing on the run.

What would it take to get these runners interested in races? At first guess most would probably say they aren’t competitive runners. Well, neither are most of the people at the races. For perhaps 70-80 % of them a trophy is a rare or non-existent benefit. That group and many of the competitive runners really enjoy the social aspects before, during and after the event. Many of us make new friends. At my wife’s first race she met another master’s runner whom she barely beat out at the home stretch. This lady became her best friend, and they went to many other races together. As a matter of fact for a number of years we would meet early every morning and do our training runs together. Those memories are still dear to the three of us. If you question your racing friends you will undoubtedly find many similar stories. As a matter of fact plenty of romances have blossomed through meetings at races. You may not be interested in romance, but none of us can have too many friends.
If you don’t participate, you will never know many of the nicest people in this community. And, it will surprise you to find how easily you will get acquainted and be absorbed in the group. At Margarete’s first race mentioned above, she was at first terrified to see all those other running women, positive she would be the last one finishing. She wasn’t , and what if she was? I know of quite a few folks who run way in the back, myself included and we still get a great deal of enjoyment from our efforts. Besides the refreshments, and the camraderie is good for all of us.

An excellent break in run for newcomers will come up on Aug. 18. The mile at Maclay track is not only a venue for the speedsters, but a chance to test yourself for a shorter distance. The runners are grouped in self designated estimated time groups, so it’s seldom that the pack is spread out very far. A good way for a neophyte to estimate that time is to mark out mile with your car and then after a good warmup try to run it hard. Generally even a good effort will be even better with others running around you. Don’t let this be your “Road not Taken.” You even get a pancake breakfast at this one.