Running for a cause

May 08, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

Three local runners who also help to organize races say they get a natural high out of their sport, and that high is heightened by a sense of giving when they race for a cause.

They encourage people to participate in runs for charity, but have a few words of caution for novices.

"I really believe in what the different fund-raising events have to offer me personally and the community as a whole," said Greg Larsen, who has been running for 15 years. "You get a sense of personal fulfillment and take care of your health while assisting in a nonprofit fund-raiser."

At 42, Larsen said he races now less for the competition, and more for the sake of health and "mental therapy," although he continues a personal tradition of running in the competitive Run Through History event.

Larsen said the nice thing about most fund-raisers is that they offer participants options. Some are run/walk events, and some have long and short running courses.


"I would encourage a newcomer to look at the shorter options initially," he said. "For example, do the 2-Mile Run for Fun in the Run Through History, rather than the 10K run."

Larsen said runners need clothes that dissipate sweat, and proper running shoes.

"The shoes are the most critical part of the equation," he said. He said they should be properly fitted, and provide the proper absorption and support.

Running one race without the proper shoes can cause several problems ranging from minor blisters to back pain and shin splints, Larsen said.

He encouraged race participants to see a trainer at a fitness facility or the YMCA, learn the proper way to run and then practice.

Runner Mike Spinnler said if you're thinking about entering a race, you should get a physical.

"That's just common sense," he said.

Spinnler warned against running in an event such as a 10K run with no prior experience.

"Remember, you have to walk before you jog, and you have to jog before you run," he said. "You might want to start by walking a course."

Runner Dick Snyder said veteran runners who enter fund-raising runs can "on the one hand, do their thing - sharing the experience with fellow runners - while benefiting an organization in some way."

On the other hand, properly prepared newcomers can share in the sense of community while taking steps to improve their health.

There are no losers, Snyder said.


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