Why Do You Race? An Overlooked Benefit of Running Races.

The day was dark, gray, and dreary.  The rain had been falling off and on for days, which meant the ground would be a muddy mess.  My heart was aching for my darling horses cooped up in the barn and our energetic dog held hostage in her kennel.  For weeks I had been planning on participating in the Wrangler Run, but with the poor weather forecast, I was not one hundred percent sure.

Nothing says, “go get’em” like an awesome barn at the foot of the Bighorns. Sadly, the fog was hiding a breathtaking view.

Multiple times earlier that week my husband had called and warned me that the weekend was not shaping up very well.  A possible winter snow advisory was circulating, making him unsure about taking our children to the event.  After a brief conversation with my mother the night before, I consented that bringing the wee ones would be a bad idea.

Since we had not been out to Eaton’s Ranch or this particular race, it was best not to risk the kids’ health by being out in the cold.  Yet, in the same breath, I did not want to wimp out and forgo supporting a cause I am passionate about.  At the last minute, I decided to go ahead and do it alone.  See running the race is only part of the story.

Why Am I So Determined and Committed?

When I search for different races and make note of the entry fee, an important question crosses my mind – Who is the benefactor and what cause am I running for?  Many races are put on to support local non-profit groups.  It is a fun way to bring awareness and hopefully raise some needed funds.  Plus runners get added perks such as T-shirts, coupons, fellowship, and if they are lucky free beer and a meal afterward.

Some races can also benefit the serious runner with qualifying times or points.  There are various organizations that will recognize particular races and award runners who meet certain specifications.

IMG_1665While I have not embarked on a serious running career yet, I can see it coming.  I am fairly competitive.  Unfortunately, however, the majority of runners I bump into are my age.  Since I am not a gifted runner, like my brother, I have decided to wait until the numbers decline.  So, about the time I am in the fifty plus age groups, I should be ready to shine.  For now, as long as I continue to improve my time and not finish dead last, I will be happy with my results.

 And So the Wrangler Run Went…

What a great race the Wrangler Run turned out to be.  Granted the course was changed last minute due to the trails being impassible.  And the weather was cold with a nip of mist.  Even so, the small crowd of super troopers was extremely friendly.  I had a wonderful time before the race chatting and enjoying a small break from the kiddos.  Added bonus:  there was poor cell phone reception, so contact from the outside world was at a minimum.

One negative was the delayed start time.  Since the course was moved to the gravel road, we had to wait for the horses to cross before we could officially begin.  Although, I am not sure how bad that was considering it was impressive to witness.

The 10K course was moderately difficult and I finished with a fairly decent time.  I ran on a slight downhill the first half, took off my top layer at the aide station, and ran back on a slight uphill to finish with a time of 1:05:37.  Ending a race uphill gave my gut an extra punch, but I quickly recovered.  A quick change of clothes was paramount due to the weather.  Followed by a little me time observing the horses in the corral.

Horses, horses, and more horses. The beauty of running at Eaton’s Ranch.

After I felt mildly recovered, I decided to check out what was going on.  I wandered over to the club house and discovered a local brewery had graciously donated a keg.  WOW!  Fresh keg beer after a race is one of the most delightful things.  Boy, did that hit the spot!  Another awesome bonus to this race was a free meal.  I filled my empty stomach with delicious food and talked to some of the volunteers.

All in all, I am so thankful I did not decide to skip this race.  Even though the weather threw a few curve balls, everyone dealt with them tactfully.  Veterans said it was sad not to be able to run the trails, but understood why.  They will be back next year, as will I.  Furthermore, I have no doubt, Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Bighorns was grateful that everybody braved the cold, overcast day to help support their mission.  Besides, isn’t running for a cause worth a few hiccups?

Until next time happy running!



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