When I got home from Australia, I needed something to throw myself into. I wasn’t as active walking to work, so I signed up for a race my friend Elizabeth was doing. From there, I made it my goal to run one race every month for an entire year. I hate running but I made this a goal because I wanted to prove that I could accomplish something athletic. I added it to my 25 Before 25 list, so I’m glad I will be able to cross at least one item off!
So why run a race every month for a year? I can now tell you that the running isn’t the difficult part, it’s finding time (and money) every month to set aside. And sure, I could have just told myself to run more instead of wasting money on all these races and t-shirts, but many of them supported some great causes. Here are the races in question.
- March: Shamrock N Roll 5K, Atlantic Station, Atlanta, GA
- April: Sweetwater 420Fest 5K, Candler Park, Atlanta, GA
- May: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K, Atlantic Station, Atlanta, GA
- June: Run Zulu 5K, Dunwoody, Atlanta, GA
- July: Peachtree Road Race 10K, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
- August: Atlanta’s Finest 5K, Pemberton Place, Atlanta, GA
- September: Holy Smoke 5K, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, GA
- October: Monster Dash 5K, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
- November: Gobble Jog 10K, Marietta Square, Marietta, GA
- December: End of the World 5K, Jim R. Miller Park, Marietta, GA
- January: MLKDay 5K, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
- February: Warthog Waddle 5K, Fellowship Baptist Church, Roswell, GA
- March: Foam Fest 5K, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, GA
- April: Cooper River Bridge Run 10K, Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC
While many of my friends are much more fit than I am, I’m glad that I almost always had someone to sign up for these races with. So here are the results, my best and worst times and other funny facts from my year of races.
Best Time: 38:45 for the End of the World 5K and 1:32:16 for Bridge Run 10 K
Worst Time: 45:49 at the Holy Smoke 5K and 1:45:17 at the Peachtree 10 K
Average Pace: 14:30 minutes per mile
Best Route: Every race had its own pros and cons, but I loved the scenery of both the Peachtree and Bridge Run, which take you through different neighborhoods of Atlanta and Charleston, respectively.
Best T-Shirt: I love the soft fit shirts from the Zulu race, Drum Run and End of the World.
Best Perks and Freebies: Sweetwater beer and concert ticket at the 420Fest 5K.
Best Cause: Many of the races supported important causes. The 420Fest 5K contributed to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the Susan G Komen 5K towards breast cancer research, the Zulu race towards donating shoes to Africans, the Holy Smoke for missions in South America, the Gobble Jog towards homelessness and the Warthog Waddle to women and orphans in Africa. I can’t pick just one!
Biggest Race by Number of Runners: The Peachtree is the world’s largest 10K, with around 60,000 runners annually.
Smallest Race by Number of Runners: The rainy weather made the Warthog Waddle the smallest race I did, with no more than 272 entries.
Best Theme Race: I dressed as Minnie Mouse for the Monster Dash but other people were even more creative than I! We also wore glow sticks for the End of the World night race.
Most Poorly Planned Race: The MLK race is one I signed up for at the last minute. It was through Piedmont Park on narrow sidewalks. There were also staffing problems and they ran out of t-shirts.
Most Well Planned Race: Monster Dash and Foam Fest were both very well planned because they are big races held throughout the country. I found that every detail was covered, which gets tricky with big races.
Best Value Race: Foam Fest 5K was easily my most expensive race, ending up being over $60, but it was worth every penny. The race was well run and included a t-shirt, beer, a medal and $10 off more Foam Fest gear.
So What’s Next?
I’m already signed up for July’s Peachtree Road Race, which I hope to make an annual affair. While the challenge is over, I won’t stop entering races.
If you are interested in starting to run or feel like races are something that you can’t do, trust me that if I can than anyone can. I’ve been inspired by Nicole of Life Less Bullshit‘s transformation from wine loving gal to in-shape sugar-free half marathoner. I’d like to cross the half-marathon off my list this year, as I’ve put it off long enough.