Sometimes, the small, local races are the best ones. They are usually fun and lighthearted, there is never any pressure or sense of worry and they are enjoyable events that make you feel good about how to spend your Saturday or Sunday morning.
A friend of mine organizes the Bobcat Blitz 5k in Palatine as a fundraiser for the Immanuel Lutheran Church and School and a group of us go to support the event every year either as runners, volunteers or sponsors. We don’t have any affiliation with the school directly, but the majority of the people at the race do, so there is a large sense of community. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone cheers on each other. There are kids all over the place having fun with their friends and enjoying a day of activity. On the way back from the turnaround point- it is an out-and-back course- all you hear are cheers from the people running the other direction.
It isn’t the largest race in the world- 82 runners in the 5K and another 62 in the mile- but that just adds to the charm, especially when you get to the awards ceremony and almost everyone walks away with an age group award. People stick around to help clean up after and, no matter what times were ran that day, everyone just seems to have a good time. We need to remember that as runners sometimes, it is not always about hitting specific times or splits, but about enjoying what we are able to do and spreading that enjoyment to others. Seek out the small, local events from time to time and remember what it is like to just go out and enjoy it.