There is a saying that goes “variety is the spice of life” – for sure that can be said about the different kinds of races I have done.
This past weekend, I ran a half marathon with about 35 people in total, which also included the 10KM runners; and yet, I have run in even smaller races. On the other hand, I have raced in big city races such as New York City with about 20,000 participants just for the half marathon, and in Chicago with 30,000 participants for the full marathon.
I do not like to compare these races, because it would be like comparing oranges to apples. At the end of the day, I like running all sorts of races. Because each comes with a different experience – and that’s the most precious.
Yes, the excitement of a big out-of-town race is appealing, because it is a run-cation. Nevertheless, a small local or nearby race is cozy, where you often get to meet every runner and even the race director.
So, this was exactly what I did the past weekend. I ran the Sporty Diva’s 6.55 and 13.1 at Orting Trail in Orting, Washington, which is situated just south east of Tacoma. The route was new to me and very nice. However, the morning was extremely windy. Luckily, along the trail, we were shielded from the gusty winds, but still felt a bit of a head-wind.
The course was 2 loops along the Orting trail. Part of the trail was beside the water, which was very scenic. See the picture below. Each way was about 3.5 miles long. So we ran out and back, twice. The trail was very quiet that morning, with only a handful of young families that were out and about. Apart from the windiness, it was a gorgeous Sunday morning.
This race however was self-timed. And based on what my Garmin watch had shown, I think the course was measured slightly longer than a half marathon distance. But it was all good. In the end, I met a number of other Half Fanatics, and each one was aiming for a different stat.
This race is part of the Sporty Diva series. They have a number of different races throughout the year, but this was my first time participating in one. They gave out nice goodies at the finish. Having a sweet tooth, I loved all the gummy bears they handed out. We also got a sports mug, and a very “patriotic” looking finisher’s medal.
I like the mission of this race – to “pay it forward” – which I find to be so meaningful. We just don’t do enough for one another, especially for strangers per se. So, besides running the race itself, it was the meaning behind it that I endorse this race 100%.
Another thing I liked about this race, as well as other similar races, is that every runner is treated the same, regardless of if you come first or dead last. Everyone is congratulated for their efforts. This environment can be very encouraging for someone just starting out. Not everyone can run fast nor is able to do many races. Providing a fun and supportive environment helps reassure new runners that every runner begins somewhere and somehow. We each have a unique story to tell.
I always consider myself very lucky; so for all of the experience I have gained throughout my years of running, I truly believe in passing it on to the newbies out there. To me, that is my “paying it forward”.
Keep on running, and embrace your own “unique” journey!
By: Mabel Fong