I have been running many 5K races lately. I think I have run six different races in the last 10 weeks so, more often than not, if your looking for me on a Saturday Morning, I am probably at a 5K race. And here's why I love them. Anyone can do it. Unlike Marathons, 10K's, triathalons etc. The 5K race is the everyman's race. Even if you haven't run in decades, you could probably choke and wheeze your way through a 5K. It's a classic entry level race that's not very intimidating. Sure, sometimes you get to the race and you see that only 80 people are running and 90% of the field is under the age of 20 years old (this happened to me this morning), and you resign yourself to the fact that you have more body fat in your left elbow than some of these kids have on their whole body, but so be it. You are still making the distance, same as them, just a little slower. Ok, a lot slower, but who gives a diddly? It's still fun, there's still food at the end and you still get a free tshirt. Oh, I almost forgot, it's also good for you.
I tend to like the bigger 5K's that have a wider field so I know there are at least 50 or 60 people who I may (and I emphasize "may") be able to outrun. That always feels good. Knowing you just passed the octogenarian with the "will run for beer" t-shirt. Talk about redemption! Small races are fun too. There's something nice about hanging out after a race on a cool summer morning with about 50 or 60 people you have never met before who all have the same thing in common. They would rather run with their friends than stay under the covers. I always meet interesting people and I usually have one or two women who seem to keep the same pace as me and we seem to help each other along. There's usually one fan/family member on the side lines who offers me a high five at Mile 2 when they don't even know me. That's what's cool.
So, if you are looking for me on a Saturday morning around 8 or 9 AM, you will likely find me around the registration tent of a 5k. Getting my number and my t-shirt and trying to find the nearest port-a-potty. Even if I never break 30 minutes, and even if I never have another PR again, I will be there, because it gives me a sense of accomplishment and fellowship that I can't get anywhere else. That's why I love 5K's!