A couple of days ago, a local 5 km/10 km race popped up on the Running Room events page. It’s actually an event that I ran last year and is basically a fun run that is also a fund raiser for a local cause – the SMILE program, which is part of the Cumberland Early Intervention program. Being focused on marathon training, I really have no idea what to expect. Throw in the fact that I also have my longest run of the year planned for Sunday and it’s probably not the time for me to go all out anyway.
Local runs that support worthy local causes are, in my opinion, one of the foundations of the running community. Even in a relatively small town like Sackville, they are well attended, well organized and a lot of fun. Many of the runners I know got their start at events such as this one. Often times, people are drawn out because a family member or someone they know is involved with the cause promoting the event. Whatever gets people out is a positive and it’s very common to see entire families participating – running or walking the course together.
Small local events also tend to be very affordable, which is always a bonus. While they may have fewer frills (no fancy swag, finishing medals, etc) you know that most likely one hundred percent of your registration fee is going directly to the cause. Small community businesses and people are amazingly generous making the overhead for these events pretty much non-existent.
If you think that there is a need for more races/events in your area, partnering with a community group or local charity may be the route for you (no pun intended). Think about what is important to you and your community or what your community needs help with and go from there. The logistics of race planning can seem daunting, but once you start talking about your idea, you will find help in all kinds of expected and unexpected places. Focus on the major factors first – road safety, route planning and food/water and the finer details will become apparent. Sure, there will likely be a few glitches, but organizers tend to notice them more than participants and the more times you get involved with the planning, the easier it will become.