Secret: I’ve always wanted to be a runner. But honestly, I’ve never really figured out what worked for me.
I’ve walked 5 half-marathons and a bunch of 5Ks, and I love the camaraderie of doing something with other people, having a goal, and checking it off the list. But I’ve never actually run a race.
Until the pandemic.
I’ve started training using the Peloton app, and I’ve gotta say, I’m actually getting the hang of it and I’m excited to actually run longer distances now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a long-distance runner, but the fact that I am actually running and liking it has me jazzed.
I’ll also admit that I’m probably a running weirdo. I actually enjoy walking and running on our treadmill. I know that’s something a lot of people hate, but I actually love zoning out, not having to worry about cars, other people, or gross weather.
This summer–and during Memorial Day, in particular– there are opportunities to run, walk, or bike, and be part of something bigger than yourself. Even if you’re not training for anything, you can lace up your shoes and participate in one (or all) of these three free races:
1. wear blue: run to remember
Memorial Day, May 25
wear blue: run to remember is a non-profit created by military spouses, one of whom is a Gold Star Wife, with the intention to “invite runners, volunteers, and supporters from both military and civilian communities to help us build a living tribute to the fallen, the fighting and the families of the US military.” wear blue has many opportunities for running– both virtually and in-person–throughout the year; however, I’m going to focus on their Memorial Day run. While normally an in-person or virtual event, for 2020, the Memorial Day run is completely virtual. When you sign up to participate, you’ll be assigned the name of a post-9/11 service member who was killed in action. wear blue’s goal is to have all 7,030 fallen service members claimed by a runner, their stories read, and their names said aloud on Memorial Day. You can choose to run or walk 1 mile, 5K, 10K, 13.1 miles, or 26.2 miles. Your email with your assigned service member’s name and story also has a bib that you can print and wear. Use #wbr2r on social to share your experience.
This year, I’ll be running to remember United States Marine Corps Corporal Richard O. Quill III. This is his story.
2. #RemeberThisMoment Virtual 5K
The Navy Exchange, together with MWR, is hosting a virtual 5K event. You’ll have 5 days to run, bike, or walk your 5K, and throughout that time, the NEX and MWR will be offering virtual programming including musical performances and cooking demonstrations. Sign up is free for all authorized NEX patrons (that means your email address has to be on file with the NEX as having an account). The first 500 registrants will receive a REAL (not virtual!) commemorative race medal in the mail.
I’ll be running this one too– watch my Instagram for my very sweaty selfie!
3. Run as One
Team RWB, a nonprofit that focuses on fitness for veteran and currently serving military families, offers the Run as One. There are virtual and in-person options (if your area is allowing for gatherings of people at this time). Sign-up is free; you’ll choose to pledge to walk or run 1 mile, 3 miles, or 5 miles in support of mental health and PTSD awareness when you submit your information. The run takes place on June 7, at the beginning of National PTSD Awareness Month There are options to purchase swag and make donations to support Team RWB’s mission. Use #RunAsOneRWB to share your support and participation.
And yep, I just signed up for this one, too.