Some of the runners in Southern Maine spent the winter conditioning on treadmills, either at home or at the gym. The motion of one’s body is the same on a machine as it is outdoors, sometimes even complete with varying speeds and grades of incline. With elliptical trainers, athletes may actually get a more complete workout than they would by running outdoors.
But there’s something a little deadening about running toward a TV screen, making no forward progress, breathing recycled air, not seeing the landscape pass by or being a participant in the scene along with pedestrians and early birds on their way to work. Runners want to feel and hear the crunch of grit on pavement under their feet, not the humming and thumping of their steps on a conveyor belt.
Well, it’s no news that the weather has changed. Runners have been back to their regular routes and have been discovering new ones. Some have reported seeing early crocuses already. And the change of season means one more thing: Timed 5Ks and 10Ks. Get ready for the joy of steadily pulling away from the pack of starters and settling into that flying, euphoric pace. Begin with these two timed runs:
First, it’s the 6th Annual Memorial Middle School 5K to be held at the South Portland High School (637 Highland Ave.) athletic track on Sunday, April 8. Race day registration starts at 9 a.m. There will be a Fun Run for kids at 9:30 a.m., with the 5K adult race beginning at 10 a.m. Registration fees are $15 for adults ($20 on race day) and $10 for students. Proceeds go to support Memorial Middle School’s efforts to increase community health and wellness, and to have money available for students’ needs. The race will take place rain or shine. Refreshments will be provided, and prizes will go to age group winners. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/events/393707137654137/
Meanwhile, a short trip north, go to the 14th Annual Save Our Swinging Bridge 5K, to happen around Topsham’s Lower Village and downtown Brunswick, on Sunday, April 16. The USA Track and Field-certified race begins on Main Street in Topsham at 10 a.m. Cost for registration is $25 for adults and $15 for minors. The first 100 registrants will receive a T-shirt. Proceeds will benefit saveourbridge.org, a non-profit that maintains and beautifies the historic Swinging Bridge, one of the few remaining suspension pedestrian bridges in Maine. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest male and female runners, as well as winners in ten different age groups. There will also be a 2K Family Walk for a little more low-impact fun. Go to http://www.saveourbridge.org/annual-5k--2k.html to learn more and register.
We hope you’ve broken in those new running shoes, because it won’t be long until the season is in full swing. So stretch, focus, and go!