What Inspires this Runner: Community, Miles and Cowbell

Sharon Palermo

Sharon Palermo and her sonWith the Boston Marathon less than a week away, it got me thinking about some of my favorite races and how I was talked into participating in my first race. I never used to run for sport (or fun for that matter), however, a few years ago I ran my first 5k and I was instantly hooked. The first few years I pretty much stayed at a 5K level. I still needed to figure out how to pace myself so I could breathe and not suffer debilitating side stitches. I soon graduated from 5Ks to 5 milers and even threw in a few trail runs. From there I propelled into the 10 milers and half marathons and then decided why not throw some obstacles races into the mix …you know, just for fun.

There are so many different types of races for any level of runner. But what is most amazing about running is the people you meet along the race route and those who inspire you and who you inspire to lace up their sneakers and hit the open road. When you’re running you’re a part of a community – there’s a purpose to the run. It could be you hit a personal best, whether its reducing your overall time or doing a couch to 5k. It’s your purpose, but you get to share the accomplishment with a group of people who want to see you succeed, and along the way you have strangers cheering you on with high fives and cow bells – MORE COWBELL please.

If you have ever thought about taking up the sport there are so many great resources and groups that are available to you, such as  Millennium Running. This organization is an integral part of the NH running community. They have great races and a running club, not to mention a new store in Bedford, NH, where you can outfit yourself with running gear from people who actually run.

Maybe I can inspire someone today to get out and enjoy their community with their fellow runners. Here are a few local races that I truly enjoy running, and hopefully I will see you at the finish line!

  • The Big Lake Half Marathon is up in the lakes region, so get ready to run with the most amazing views of Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains. The run is through Alton, NH, with a pretty good hill climb as you pass the entrance to Mount Major.

  • Travelers Half Marathon – I was sold on this race as it was promoted as being all down-hill. That isn’t the case, but it is a fun run from the NH Speedway in Loudon to downtown Concord. This race brings you through trail, dirt roads and some scenic towns.

  • The NH 10 Miler also has a 5 mile two-person relay, so if you are not quite ready for the full 10 you have options. It’s a challenging 10 miles due to the many hills, but it is so worth it. There are great views of Massabesic Lake, and tree-lined back roads make it an enjoyable run.

I am adding a new one to the list this year. I can’t wait for the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon & 5K. It’s flat… WOOT! My knees get a break on this one, plus my friends will have already run the 5k and will be there to meet me at the finish line.

For those running on Marathon Monday, good luck and our spirit is with you in every step. You’re amazing!

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