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Who else is ready to run a race again? I have great news! It appears that road races are coming back. The large brand name races that host tens of thousands of participants may not be back physically anytime soon, but small local races are setting dates and opening registration making this year the perfect time to race your local 5k or 10k.

Due to the pandemic, race directors have implemented safety measures including wave starts, participation caps, and contactless packet pickup. Contactless packet pickup allows the runner to pick up their pre-race materials such as their personal bib number, timing chip, and race shirt without contact with race staff. The week of the event, the runner will make a call to make an appointment with race staff to pick up their packet from a table outdoors. Other precautions include the removal of pre and post race refreshments as well as on course aid stations. Participants are encouraged to bring their own water and food to fuel for the run. These types of safety precautions may be here to stay for a while, but at least we can get back to running races with our friends and family.

Check out these races

The Beaufort Rotary Historic Road Race has been moved up a month earlier to June 12th. It was typically hot in downtown Beaufort the morning of this race. Perhaps June will bring a slightly more bearable temperature. This event is a timed 10k, 5k, or 1-mile race with medals awarded to the top runners in each distance and in each age group.

The Beaufort Bridge Run 5k & Dog Strut is the only event to feature Beaufort’s new bridges. Did you know that children under 12 years of age can run this race for FREE?! The dog strut is only 1 mile and would be perfect for kids too. This race was held in person last year with safety precautions in place. Runners masked up before and after the run as well as practiced social distancing when gathering. This is a timed event, your time is recorded and sent to you via text.

The Turkey Trot Costume Fun Run is held on Thanksgiving Day in Cape Carteret. A “Fun Run” is not a timed race, so you won’t need a bib or timing chip. These races are not competitive which makes it perfect for the whole family to do together! Awards of pumpkin pies are granted to the first male and female to cross the finish line as well for best flock costume or best individual costume.

Benefits of Road Races

Races rally the local running community to unite and work toward a goal. Whether running or volunteering, you should expect to create and nurture friendships both new and old during these events. Typically, funds generated by racing events benefit a local charity or community project, so these types of events can literally build amenities or fund programs in the local community.

Whether you are a pro, weekend warrior, or novice runner there is no better motivation than registering for a race. The approaching race date and start time provides the participant with a tangible goal. Serious runners typically train for their race in the weeks or months leading up to the event. Beginners can potentially train from couch to a 5k in approximately 8-12 weeks. Running the same race each year can be a great way to measure your progress. Leading up to competitive events such as races, runners are motivated to improve their paces during training for race day. Whether competing against themselves for a personal best or against other runners, races add that highly competitive element that drives us.

Race Day Tips

Don’t wait until race day to hydrate. It’s best to drink plenty of water days leading up to the event to ensure adequate hydration. Even if start time is super early, you should fuel up for the run by eating a small breakfast or snack.

A rule of thumb is to not wear anything new on race day. If you get new shoes, break them in with a few training runs before race day. New items can cause blisters and/or chafing. For really hot and humid race days, I will often make use of a cooling towel. Such a towel is made of a special fiber. You can wet this towel with water and it will remain cool for sometime.

My last tip would be to also make sure to eat well after your race, I recommend eating at a local restaurant with friends and family because race day is a day to celebrate your accomplishment.

Jessica Diaz is an ultra runner, loving wife & mother, owner of a Siberian Husky, RRCA Running Coach & Race Director, as well as Digital Manager at The GYM Cape Carteret Aquatic & Wellness and CEO of Diaz Media Marketing.