Make us your home page
Instagram

Themed running events inspire participation

I don't naturally enjoy running.

I purposefully avoided it, playing goalie on my high school soccer team, in part, to avoid sprinting up and down the 100-yard field, red-faced and winded like the rest of my teammates.

I've since shaken my absolute disdain for the sport, completing a few races and now training for a half-marathon. While I can list the benefits — cardiorespiratory fitness, stronger bones, stress relief, endorphins, confidence — I still struggle with motivation. I don't run with any focus on speed. I run with the desperate hope I can complete whatever specified distance and not collapse in the process.

So I'm the clear target audience for the wave of activity-filled 5k runs flooding Tampa Bay.

Organizers lure participants to run with any gimmick they can conjure: color run, flavor run, mud run, obstacle run, zombie run, scavenger run, run for beer, run for wine, run for chocolate. I've seen advertisements for all of these in the past few months.

Earlier this week, I experienced my first themed run, a Veterans Day Color Run at Nativity Catholic Church's Novemberfest.

The smart concept relies on quirkiness to attract participants while yielding the same result: Run a mile or three, get your blood pumping and kick off the day with exercise Americans need.

According to an August report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of Americans are obese. That number is slightly lower in Florida at 25 percent.

We struggle to embed healthy choices into our lifestyle. Many people recoil at the idea of running a 5K. But tell them they'll get chased by zombies and, suddenly, panting in the Florida sun seems more appealing. These creative events result in more people going out and running.

At Nativity, the upbeat personalities that greeted me at 7:30 a.m. impressed. The annual race drew its highest numbers to date: more than 200 people, with a number of families and children likely enjoying the freedom that comes with a day off of school. The youngest participant was 2; the oldest, 76.

Not everyone appeared to be an enthusiast logging 20 miles a week, but they shared a desire to celebrate the holiday in a healthy, active way.

I praise anything that encourages people to be more fitness-focused. Advertising surrounding working out centers on losing weight. While that's a great payoff, too much emphasis is placed on the negatives — whatever we don't like about our body — instead of the empowering positives —the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Fitness should make you happier, stronger and more engaged in your community.

That's why I enjoyed the Novemberfest Color Run. The atmosphere proved upbeat and community-focused. Kids ran alongside adults. A man pushed a stroller and jogged with a dog. Friends shouted words of encouragement. And during the final .2 miles, runners dashed through clouds of red and blue powder that clung to their skin and coated their clothes.

People celebrated running instead of dreading it. They embraced the challenge and enjoyed the adrenaline rush that lasted through the goofy photo booth sessions and the piles of healthy snacks that awaited them.

Running doesn't have to be a chore. The mud pits, obstacles and zombies distract us, but ultimately, our bodies crave motion. Whether you sign up for a themed run or jog through your neighborhood, give your body a gift: run.

If you go

The 10th annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K will be held Sunday at Alafia River State Park beginning with the marathon and 30K at 7:30 a.m. Organizers tout the course's rolling hills with sweeping views and wide, grass and dirt paths that are easy on the body. For information, go to tamparaces.com/X-Country/index.htm.

Themed running events inspire participation 11/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 3:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. If you miss out on Retro Futura tour, you'll be needing a little 'Tenderness'

    Blogs

    Closing out Retro Futura Week is a little bit of a cheat. We started the week with the English Beat and we end it with an offshoot of the Beat, the band General Public and their hit …

  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 20

    Events

    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel looks at a Lego sculpture called "Everlasting" at The Art of the Brick exhibit, which opened Friday in Tampa and runs through Sept. 4. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  3. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 19

    Events

    Monster Jam Triple Threat Series: Come early for the Pit Party ($15 or free at local Ford dealers) to meet the drivers and get pictures with the trucks. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $15-$80. (813) 301-2500.

    A crew member from the El Toro Loco monster truck, installs a truck tire, Thursday, 8/17/17 in preparation for Saturday's  Monster Jam Triple Threat Series at Amalie Arena, Tampa. The event will be held Saturday at 1pm and 7 pm.
  5. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]