On Monday, I shared the big news! I registered for my first 5K in almost a year!
Obviously, part of my time off had a lot to do with the fact that I had broken bones and was in recovery from surgery. The other part was all about COVID-19 canceling just about everything. Boo.
I’ll issue a disclaimer that not every region is offering in-person options right now, but it seems like smaller, local races are permitted to happen. It’s been going on for a month or two in Northeast Florida, and I finally felt it was time to give it a try.
Choose a race that makes you comfortable.
Not all races are created equal, and that’s ok. Right now, there is something for everyone, even if it means staying virtual, so you can be selective. Check out everything, from race policies to swag details, and go with the event that feels right for you.
I was all set to register for a really cool, brand-new 5K, but it was a point-to-point race, with a shuttle ride back to the start. While I was ok running in a group of people outside, I wasn’t as comfortable with being on a bus afterwards, so I found something more palatable. I’ll be at the Cotttonmouth Quarter Marathon & 5K on October 31!
Don’t rush to register TOO quickly.
Usually, I am all about jumping on registration as soon as it opens, but these are strange times. Sure, it’s great to take advantage of early-bird pricing or swag with limited availability, but right now, things fluctuate very quickly. Register too soon and you run the risk of things changing (like being moved to a virtual event with no refund, for example).
The downside is that many events have limited the number of participants, so just keep that in mind before taking too long to commit.
Familiarize yourself with updated policies.
Even if you registered (or plan to register) for a race you’ve run 20 times, things have probably changed. Look for details about day-of registration, packet pickup, awards, and cancellations. Race directors seem to be very clear about how they are handling everything from when and where to pick up your bib, to the structure of the actual race. There’s no reason not to be prepared, and if you’re not on board with the policies, then it might be best to find another event that’s a better fit.
Respect the rules.
Look. I get it. Nobody WANTS to wear a mask at the start and finish lines, or carry it with them when running. Staggered starts totally take something away from the thrill of a race, especially when you’re trying to get on that podium. However, right now, these are the rules, and if you are going to participate in the event, then you need to play along. Race directors, staff, and volunteers have struggled through this past year, just like the rest of us. The least we can do is show our appreciation for them and their dedication to getting things back to normal by not making their jobs any harder.
Most importantly, have fun! The return to in-person racing is a great time, and there’s no reason not to enjoy it! Stay safe, run hard, and bask in every second of it! It’s only going to get better.
Are you back to in-person racing?
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