Sonya Sorich column: There's life after Color Me Rad

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 26, 2013 

Running is enjoyable even when people don't throw stuff at you.

Sure, the argument is a tough sell. But maybe I've found a few thousand people who are more likely to get on board.

For me, the best thing about the Color Me Rad 5K in downtown Columbus wasn't blue, yellow or pink. It was the potential for the continued growth of our running community.

It seems like many of the estimated 4,400 participants chose the March 23 race as their first organized 5K. I understand why -- it's hard to pass up the promise of being hit with blasts of colored corn starch.

Even more appealing: the lack of a giant time clock reinforcing your insecurities.

The Color Me Rad 5K wasn't timed, so I didn't get the usual finish-line question: "How did you do?" Instead, someone asked me if I wanted more pink corn starch. I said yes.

Rather than looking for race results on Facebook later in the day, people shared colorful photos of the 5K.

My plea to the runners who tried racing for the first time? Come back.

There won't always be color blasts or cute sunglasses, and there will almost always be a time clock. But I bet you will eventually enjoy it. Along with its physical benefits, running can eliminate mental stresses and help you make new friends.

Don't know where to start? Try the group runs that stores like Big Dog Running Company and Below The Knee offer. Also, the "Active Columbus GA" group on Facebook is an online hub where you can learn about group fitness events.

You can be a runner without participating in organized races.

However, having a target race adds a certain level of discipline and accountability to your training -- not to mention the unrivaled adrenaline rush of pushing your physical limits.

As interest in the hobby grows, people already involved in the running community must ensure it remains appealing.

That means keeping registration costs for local road races affordable, so the activity can attract a diverse variety of participants. It means having an event calendar that accommodates runners' varying work schedules. It means accepting all levels of running experience.

Then, of course, there's that time clock. It's generally a standard element in any event involving the word "race," and I'm not asking for it to go away. But in addition to rewarding those who excel by the time clock's measure, we should acknowledge runners who boast equally admirable traits -- like the courage to try something new.

And maybe once in a while, we should abandon that pesky clock entirely -- as a friendly reminder that running's bright appeal doesn't have a deadline.

Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516. Visit ledger-enquirer.com/sonya to read her columns.

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