Of course you can! For a great deal of people, Fun and Run are oxymorons of the highest degree but they don’t have to be. A fun run event is one of the most exhilarating, rewarding experiences you'll ever be part of. If it’s something you've had an interest in or always wanted to achieve as a goal, I’m here to say you should jump in and have a go.
Here are my top 10 tips for having a go at your first fun run:
Even though the name of the events is generally ‘fun run’, there is never any requirement you have to be able to run to participate. Go ahead and enter and just walk or walk/jog for your first one.This is a good way to be part of it and find out what it’s all about without putting too much pressure on yourself.
If you're aiming for your first ever fun run, choose the smallest distance and start from there. Depending on the event, there will usually be a starter event of between 3-5km.
Sign up with a friend. One of the best parts of doing a fun run is the support you get from the people doing it with you. If one of those people is a familiar face, it will make it much more enjoyable.
Make sure you have the right shoes. If your joggers haven’t seen the light of day for 10 years, it’s time to invest in some new ones. In fact if they are more than about 2 years old, turf them and get some new ones. If you have been wearing them fairly regularly, give them the flick after about 12 months. The lifespan of trainers is far less than most people wear them for. While they may not look or feel terribly worn, the cushioning and supportive structures throughout the shoe do deteriorate with time and regular wear and can cause injury problems if you continue to wear them.
Check out the event website beforehand.There is heaps of great information on the event websites to give you a heads up before you get there. You can have a look at the course, find out information about how to get there, parking suggestions (big events can have limited parking due to the number of entries and road closures etc), bag drop areas (there is usually somewhere safe you can leave your bag while you are participating), start times, sponsor information, entertainment, meeting points, first aid stations, drink stations and plenty more.
Do some training beforehand. If you can, invest some time, perhaps once or twice per week to do some extra walks or jogs to get you in better shape. Not only will you be able to complete a faster time than if you didn’t train, you will be able to complete the event with greater ease, more comfort and reduce your chance of injury.
Have fun! After all, they are called a fun run! There will be prizes for the elite runners but leave the ambitions for medals at home, (for your first event anyway) and just enjoy the experience.
Thank the volunteers! There’s a special thrill you get from thanking a volunteer who hands you a drink or points you in the right direction on the course. They do such a brilliant job and they rarely get thanked so they will appreciate the recognition and it will make you feel good too.
Smile if you see a camera. You will feel much better looking at a picture of yourself with a big grin on your face than a painful scowl.
Be prepared to get hooked! I guarantee you’ll be back for another one once you’ve completed your first.
Go ahead and leave a comment telling me about your first experience at a fun run. Or if you’ve done your first and been converted, what’s your best advice to help out a first timer?