I know that for the LRRC regulars the description below will be old hat, but I hope that some newcomers will read it and decide to give the LRRC a try!
In a quest to lose weight and get more healthy I started increasing my walking and elliptical trainer mileage late last year, and eventually started to run a little, working my way up gradually. After a few months of jogging/running I thought it might be fun to join in with other people but I didn’t think I was good enough at running to come to the Fun Runs. Despite reading what it says on the LRRC website about “all abilities” I couldn’t quite believe that I would be able to keep up well enough to fit in. I was encouraged (by my old volleyball/work buddy Steve Farrah) to come and try it, so eventually I worked up my confidence to come out, not sure what to expect.
The first run I went to was in Akron. It was easy to find, with plenty of parking, as were all of the runs I have been to so far. I didn’t exactly know what to look for, but when I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a group of people who looked runners stretching and chatting, so I wandered over and asked if I was at the right spot. I was greeted warmly and welcomed, and LRRC runners who recognized me as a new person came up, introduced themselves, and made me feel generally at home, even though I was pretty nervous about my abilities, or lack thereof. When I expressed my reservations, numerous people encouraged me to participate and assured me I would do fine (and I did!).
There was a “variety pack” of people there, a good mix of men and women and a range of ages. I’m 50, have recently lost weight but still have a fair amount to go, and was a little sensitive that I don’t look like a runner, but there were people of varying sizes and shapes, and I didn’t feel out of place at all.
What is the run like? People run at their own level – if it works to run with someone you can, if not, keep to your own pace. There are typically multiple routes laid out, ranging from ~3 miles to ~8 miles. For some runs there are maps and directions so that you can find your way, for others there are road markings. I am not familiar with some of the areas that the runs are held, so I like to look at the map and get the lay of the land ahead of time. The routes of the runs I have been to so far are mostly rural and scenic, with light traffic and the best of Lancaster County to see while you are running.
There is no pressure to run at a certain pace – people stop and walk if they want to. Some people don’t run at all, they walk the shorter course or part of it. Even for “brand new” runners like me, it is fairly easy to run/walk the shortest course and finish in the same time frame as the fast runners doing the long course. After the run, lots of people hang around and talk in the parking lot, so if you are slow like me, no worries, people will still be there when you get back! And no matter how slow I am, I have been encouraged by the other runners. The important thing is not how fast, but that you try, and stick to it!
Some folks leave soon after the run is done, some stay for the social part of the evening. For the runs I have gone to, “Part II” has been at restaurants some nights, and people’s houses other nights. The social part is relaxed and fun, and the LRRC people were just as friendly at Part II as for Part I!
I would encourage anyone who is interested, but not sure, to at least give it a shot. I have only come to 4 of the Fun Runs so far, but running with other people has inspired me to try things I wouldn’t have thought I could do on my own, and I am already running farther. The LRRC is a really nice group of people, and I look forward to many Fun Runs to come!
Peg Saunders 6/9/07