Summer 5K's and 10K's Around the Nation

By Christy Flom on June 29, 2015

Summer is a great way to focus on getting in shape. It doesn’t matter if you are no longer playing a sport, never played a sport, or are currently playing a sport: you need to stay active while out of school.

During the summer there are countless ways to get in shape and stay in shape. From running and cycling to kickboxing and weight training, any form of exercise each day will help better your endurance and overall level of fitness.

A strong majority of college students have summer jobs or internships. While your days may not be as free as they were during high school summers, there is still plenty of time each day to start working towards a goal.

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A great goal for college students to work towards is running a 5K or 10K. For those who may not know, a 5K is 3.1 miles and a 10K is 6.2 miles. The nice thing about setting these distances as your goal is that there are hundreds of events each month across the nation that allow runners to all run these lengths together. So, people can set this goal together and work towards participating in a run near them.

The hardest part of running is actually doing it and learning to build up mental stamina. Running more than three consecutive miles may not always be difficult physically, but rather mentally. Even music can get old after mile two for some people. By forcing yourself to run a little farther each day, your endurance will increase making each run easier. I have found that running with a friend makes it easier to keep going, especially on days when the last thing that I want to be doing at that moment is aimlessly running for minutes on end.

Once you begin training for a 5 or 10K, the next step is finding a race. There are countless races to choose from, but it can be difficult to hear about races close to you or ones that are relatively inexpensive. Thankfully, there is a website that keeps track of a solid amount of races taking place all over the country. is a great resource for runners to use while searching for a nearby race.

If there are multiple races available, there are several important factors that can help people determine which race to choose. First, the cost of a race is key. While many 5 and 10K races are relatively inexpensive, it never hurts to compare costs. Second, the organization or company that is hosting the event can be crucial information, too. People who are very passionate about specific philanthropies should look into finding a race where the profits go towards that philanthropy.

Image via by Michael Kappel

Finally, the theme of the race is always significant to check. Around holidays, there are a substantially higher amount of races that encourage participants to wear costumes while running. These holiday runs can become traditions and yearly goals for families, too.

For example, a friend of mine always runs a 5K over thanksgiving with his extended family and they always dress up as something different each year. This past year they were the seven dwarves from Snow White. I run a race called the “Turkey Trot” in downtown Detroit, Michigan each Thanksgiving and I have seen many insane costumes. From people dressing as turkeys and Santas to groups of people creating their own floats to carry while running, there is never a dull moment running early in the morning before crossing the finish line to watch the parade that follows.

Aside from holiday themed runs, there are races like the Color Run where paint dust is thrown at the runners. Participants can wear white shirts and by the end of the race they are covered head to toe in a rainbow of colors. I have also heard of races ending at lakes where participants can go swimming and races that end in a field of mud for contestants to slide in after finishing.

Examples of races with fun themes include a run in Arizona called the “Splash Mob 5K” on July 18 and a run in Key West, Florida named the “Hemingway 5K Sunset Run,” on July 25. One specific group of races that supports literacy are the “Run to Read” races which will take place July 17 in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Whether or not you run alone or with several friends, 5 and 10K’s create a unique community amongst all contestants. The best part is that there are usually crowds of people watching and cheering on each runner, even though they have absolutely no clue who is running or even why they are running.

At the end of the day the euphoric feeling of accomplishing a race, no matter how fast or slow, is worth the training, sore legs, cramps, and possible detest towards running!

I'm a communications major at the University of Michigan. I love sports, especially the Wolverines, and have always had a passion for writing

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