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Every day should be the day to get out there and run—and sign up for a race! If I had a quarter for every time my dad asked, “Did you win?” followed by, “Why do you do this?” after telling him I ran a race, I would have enough, well, to pay for another race entry. The elites go out to win, but what about the rest of us? Why do we pin on crinkly numbers, shuffle nervously in our corrals at ridiculously early hours and suffer the indignities of leg cramps and chafing when we have little chance of breaking the tape? And why are more and more people toeing starting lines each year—2013 saw more than 19 million people finish running events, a 22 percent jump over 2012! The obvious answer: Because it’s a blast! I polled fellow runners for a few more options. Which reasons to hit ‘register’ ring true for you?
1. Built-in entertainment and company. If you get bored or lonely on your runs, racing is the way to go. Leave the headphones at home and enjoy the sights and sounds as the miles fly by. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series offers on-course entertainment, as well as a thriving finish-line concert to dance out the sores and cramps.
2. Being part of something larger than you. A race can be a pure battle of you against the clock or a few specific competitors. But it’s about more too. When you race, you are celebrating the sport of running, the history of the event and a shared experience with a friend or two, plus hundreds or thousands of other people out to enjoy the same thing.
3. Because you can. You love running, races love runners—enjoy it!
4. The medals. While we don’t recommend wearing your finisher’s medal as a regular part of your jewelry routine, it’s always fun to add to the collection–or hang them on your cubicle!
Related: 10 Simple Reasons To Lace Up And Run
5. Instant run support during training—food, water, restrooms. When the schedule calls for a long training run, use a race for your workout. The entry fee is a small price to pay for miles of hydration, snacks and portable bathrooms at the ready.
6. Swag. Not only do you get to enjoy a supported run, but you also get presents! Whether it’s a T-shirt, socks, cool hat or something else, race paraphernalia is clothing you wear with pride because you earned it!
7. For the challenge. Goals are good. So is pushing yourself. And races are a safe way to run further, faster or try something you didn’t think you could do!
8. To get inspired. Faster runners, slower runners, charity runners—all these people have special stories for being out on the course. Need an extra nudge of support? Harriette Thompson’s story is an international sensation. If you’re jaded about running, go to a race. Fast runners, charity runners, power walkers, wheel chair participants, and cheering spectators—you cannot help but be inspired by those around you.
9. Sense of accomplishment. When you start your day by running a race—you’ve already something awesome. Whether it’s something you worked towards for months or decided to do at the last minute, the fact is you showed up and did it. That’s worth celebrating.
10. Did I mention for the fun of it? Sometimes racing because it’s fun is the best reason of all.