Race fever is afoot

After Saturday’s BluePoints 5K at the Ballpark, I ran into Lew Borman milling about in the post-race/pre-awards-ceremony crowd. Borman hadn’t run — he was there supporting his son, Elliot — but he had the air of a man who had been exposed to race fever.

Lew works for BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina and recently joined an in-house 0-to-5k program. I got the impression he wasn’t entirely onboard when he signed on. But experiencing the second-hand glow of a 5K, he seemed to be warming quickly to the challenge ahead.

I remember the first race I ran, a 10K in Denver’s City Park in 1980. I was full of doubt in the days leading up to the race. Had I trained enough? Could I hang with the back of the pack? Would there be no evidence a race had even been held by the time I finished, the organizers having packed up and left?  All that angst and anxiety vanished when I pulled up to the race. The atmosphere was electric: Music pumping from a massive sound system, colorful banners and bunting demarcating the start/finish, vendors handing out swag, hundreds of runners oozing pent-up energy, free bananas, oranges and bagels. Free bagels! No recollection of how I did in that race (though I did finish in time to score a bagel), but the experience remains vivid. I practically floated through the race, so distracted was I by the overall experience. Much as I enjoy the competition, I realized, it’s the non-running aspect of racing that keeps me motivated to train.

Check out the following video — it’s only 60 seconds — to get a sense of that experience. Then, if you’re intrigued and wondering about how to tap into the running community — and extremely open and accepting community, I should note — check out this post from February on walk-to-run programs, programs that promise to take non-runners and make them capable of running a 5K in just 12 weeks.

I expect to see Lew at the next 5K. Maybe I’ll see you as well.

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