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April 6, 2014

The Capitol 10,000 kicks off the local spring racing season

There will be a number of San Marcos runners entering the Capitol 10,000 today. This is the largest 10K in Texas and ranks as one of the largest in the United States. Very fast runners from Kenya will run for the prize money against some other good runners.

The Capitol 10,000 race is more of an event than a race for most of the large number of runners entered. Race numbers will be close to 15,000 runners pounding the pavement in Austin today. Even starting close to the starting line, it will take a runner several minutes to get to that line.

Trying to run fast if you are not at the front of the pack is very difficult. Trying to wedge your way through the crowd almost makes trying for a PR impossible. This is a race for enjoying being part of the crowd and having a run for fun instead of trying to win a medal in your age group.

Times have changed, but in the early days the Capitol 10,000 sort of signaled the start of the summer racing season in Texas. Today races are found in every month of the year, and finding a weekend that does not have a race is rare.

With so much information on the benefits of exercise and running for health and for losing weight, health experts are often puzzled as to why so many people do not run. For a runner trying to run for health and fitness, or to lose weight, it often makes a beginner a little intimidated to enter a local race. The image of “all of those fast runners who are so slim and fit” can be a reason for someone starting out slow and easy and overweight to not think of running a race.

The cure for this false image of fast and fit runners in a race is to go and watch a local 5K race. There will be those fast and fit runners at the front of the pack; but before less than half of the runners are running by you, the rest of the majority of runners that you see will start to motivate you. There will be those slow and easy joggers, a number of walkers, a good number of runners that will outweigh you and some that are twice your age.

Looking at these runners in the race starts you thinking, “If those people can enter a race, I bet I could do that as well.” The benefit of thinking about entering a sponsored 5K race is that it gives you a goal. Whatever the reason for starting an exercise or running program, you need to have a goal to shoot for.

Start with picking a date that you feel will be good for you to try entering one of the local 5K races. Check the local online running calendars and see what races are open near that date. You will find that, on the calendar, there are a lot of fun, low-key races that will fit into your schedule.

Starting April 12th, the Got Your Back 5K at the soccer fields at Five-Mile Dam Park is a nice flat course with few turns. April 19th can have you driving to Lockhart for the Kiwanis 5K Stampede for a run nearby. On the 26th of April, Wimberley has their fun Wimberley 4-Miler to try.

In May, you have a run almost every weekend to choose from. May 3rd has the Cinco De Mayo 5K right here in San Marcos that is a great race to enter. Going back in history, the Cinco De Mayo race was the first road race here in San Marcos. It was a 10K back in 1979.

The following weekend, May 10th, the Project Graduation 5K race is out at the River Ridge course here in San Marcos. The week after that, on May 18th, Kyle has the Front Porch Days runs. This is good, as you can choose between a 10K distance, a 5K distance, a 3K distance and a 1K distance. Then, on the 24th of May, the Faith Run 5K is held in San Marcos out at Country Estates.

The point of looking at any of these races is that hopefully it will provide a motivation for you to become active. If you are still a little hesitant to enter a race, just plan to attend one of the races to watch, and let your own desire to accomplish a goal be a starting point.

Moe Johnson
Dr. Maurice Johnson - better known around San Marcos as “Moe” - is a professor in the Department of Health, P.E., Recreation and Dance at Texas State University - San Marcos. Moe has been a fixture in the San Marcos running community - both as a runner and race organizer - since way back when Moby Dick was a minnow. His column on running and fitness appears each Sunday in the Sports section of the San Marcos Daily Record.

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