Author Topic: The appeal of the 5k race?  (Read 6972 times)

CmFtns

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 583
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Melbourne, Fl
The appeal of the 5k race?
« on: August 04, 2015, 12:31:30 PM »
Now I've never been a runner or enjoyed running so I do not understand the appeal or running in general. But my main question here is what you all think about the organized 5k race events that are randomly put on with entry fees anywhere from $15 - $??.

I don't really understand what your paying for because at any time I wanted I could go run 5 kilometers almost anywhere I desire. I've thought this before in the past but was reminded about it when my GF suggested maybe signing up for one of these events with a couple of friends. In the grand scheme of things this type of money is almost meaningless but I keep the mindset that even the small savings adds up fast if you always make the decision to try to save.

So 5k races mustacian?

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3375
  • Age: 36
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 12:35:59 PM »
Races are expensive, and not strictly necessary.  But for some, it does help for motivation to have an organized event to work towards.  And they are fun for the most part.

There are also ways to be involved without running the race and paying the fees.  Show up and cheer people on is the simplest.  Manning a water station or the start/finish area.  Most races need quite a few volunteers.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1677
  • Location: SE PA
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 12:40:36 PM »
I think it is the same as the appeal of any race- to see how well you do.  People also use them as goals to work towards.  Some of them benefit non-profit orgs, and some of them have nice perks.  One that I have done a couple of times is sponsored by a local brewery and features a nice buffet and beers after the race.  Which is fun because people are having a fancy picnic lunch and beers at 9:30 in the morning.  Races seem to start early, and it doesn't take long to run a few miles...  Just another thing to do with people, a social kinda thing.

Better Change

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 12:43:17 PM »
I run races every once in a while, but I do them to check in with my current fitness level.  But I RACE the races and generally go out trying to beat a significant number of people.

Our local half marathons are ~ $40 to enter, but if you win your age group, you get a free pair of running shoes (valued at ~ $120).  That's worth the 1:30-and some change it takes me to finish!  Winning your age group in a shorter race (5 or 10k) gets you a free race entry to the next one.

RFAAOATB

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 574
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2015, 12:43:51 PM »
Not to mention that for a lot of people 5k is a significant achievement.  I did a half marathon for $23 a few weeks ago which is an appropriate challenge level for me.  Doing that makes me less likely to pay for a 5k.  I still want to train for a marathon.  Ideally you would sign up for a race that is slightly longer than your training runs, either 5k, 10k, half, or full marathon.

Catomi

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 48
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 12:52:18 PM »
I signed up for a couple of 5ks coming up at the end of the summer. For me, it is motivation to work out more regularly. I find that if I don't have a deadline I can rationalize prioritizing something else over exercise very easily. Plus, I will get a t-shirt for each, and I am low on t-shirts. The races I signed up for are also fundraisers for two charitable events. Yes, my dollars would go further if I just donated directly, but having an event like this increases their exposure in the community. I'd assume that would benefit them as well.

Besides, running with a big group of people like that is fun.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1648
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 01:02:03 PM »
I can echo most of what is said here.  I've been running for 7 years.  I used to be a couch potato, and now I've done multiple 5Ks, 10Ks, 3 half marathons and a marathon.

I'm currently "redefining" my relationship with running and one of the questions I'm asking myself is about whether to race again until next spring.  I know I can strap on my running shoes anytime and to run and gradually increase my fitness.  But having a goal race to shoot for certainly helps.  If you don't want to pay for races, I would at least join a local running club with regular group runs and distances.  You will pay a small fee to have support on training runs.  Accountability is the name of the game.

The above posters are correct -- you are paying to have the roads closed, water stops, police protection and "goodies" on the day of the race.  Beyond that, I love a good race atmosphere.  Getting a race done can involve moments of pure joy and dispair, but there's really nothing like the feeling when you achieve a new goal.  I'm kind of a quiet person, so I also enjoy the raucous crowds at races.  It's sheer joy and fun to be a part of.

Beyond any money that might go to charity I also think you are supporting two other things:  health and fitness in your community and communitarian values.  I cannot tell you how many people have approached me to ask about running since I started.  In my own way, maybe I'm helping others to have the courage to start.

Mustachianism is about freeing up money to do the things you value.  I value races so I'll continue, even if I do fewer of them.  If you're unsure, you can always volunteer.  We need cheerleaders too.

Louisville

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 496
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 01:08:58 PM »
You are paying for them to shut down the roads, to have bands, and to have water for you (not that you need any water in a 5k - makes more sense for a marathon).  I find running in a race is much more fun than running by yourself.  Don't do many 5ks though - stick to longer distances that are more challenging.
A 5k is challening - if run in under 22 minutes (for me).

waffle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 286
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 01:10:13 PM »
A lot of races are organized to raise money for a cause. Others take a lot of prep and work to set up like tough mudder and the other obstacle course runs, and others are just events for the community where the money goes for entertainment and refreshments.
I have noticed a lot of 5k runs popping that try to introduce some sort of wow factor. These mostly seem pointless to me at best and dangerous at worst. Like these color runs I see where people throw chalk powder in the air as you run. Why would anyone want to breath that in at all let alone while you are trying to run your fastest. Then there are bubble runs, zombie runs, etc...

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1648
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 01:12:02 PM »
A lot of races are organized to raise money for a cause. Others take a lot of prep and work to set up like tough mudder and the other obstacle course runs, and others are just events for the community where the money goes for entertainment and refreshments.
I have noticed a lot of 5k runs popping that try to introduce some sort of wow factor. These mostly seem pointless to me at best and dangerous at worst. Like these color runs I see where people throw chalk powder in the air as you run. Why would anyone want to breath that in at all let alone while you are trying to run your fastest. Then there are bubble runs, zombie runs, etc...

Waffle raises good points here.  Through my running club I've also become aware of some "scam" races... 5Ks that are hosted with a gimmick but don't raise money for charity.  Avoid those.

slugline

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1165
  • Location: Houston, TX USA
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 01:34:30 PM »
The running community is extremely diverse. There are so many motivations to decide whether or not to take part in an organized event. There are lots of runners who do not take part in races. You just don't notice them because they do their thing without much public spectacle.

A run event can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want it to be. There are a couple of cheap 5K series held in my metro area. One is hosted by a running club and just asks for $1 to help keep the water/aid stations stocked. Another is hosted by a nonprofit group that takes donations from community groups and charges nothing to enter. On the other end are really expensive gimmick events put on by for-profit companies, which I pretty much avoid.

Look at the "5K race" like you would a "festival" or any other type of "party event" situation really.

BicycleB

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 04:44:27 PM »
All comments above are excellent!!

Intermittent runner here, 5k to marathon.  I love running.  Sometimes it's fun to run with others.   Anyway, on to your questions.

In my opinion, whether a 5k or any foot race is "worth it" depends on you - on what you want, on what you get out of the event.

Since you don't sound as if you like running that much, it sounds like the questions are:

Should I spend $15 to accompany her?  (I would guess "Yes if what she wants is connection with you on something that's important to her, no if she would be happy with you cheering manically for her on the sidelines")

Should I encourage her to spend $ on this foolishness, or seek to discourage it if possible?  (My guess is support her unless her true desires can be met otherwise.) 

Our comments can stimulate your thinking, but in the end you will need to decide based on your values and the particulars of your case.  IMHO.

BicycleB

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 04:49:08 PM »
PS. On re-reading, I realize maybe you weren't planning on joining her, just asking what position you should consider regarding the whole deal.

I say, the time involved in the adventure is a lot for a small cost, and she will like the involvement with friends, so she should do it and you should support her doing it.  Go to the race and cheer them on.

If she gets addicted, you can decide later how to proceed.  Obviously races are not a necessity, but there are worse hobbies in terms of money.

h2ogal

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 232
  • Location: FingerLakes
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 05:34:09 PM »
I was never a big runner, and ran my first 5K event when I was over 50.  I LOVED it!  It was one of those races where people run in teams and wear costumes.  There was a party atmosphere, volunteers standing along the route to cheer us on...a totally joyful time.  I'm signed up to run my 3rd 5K this month.

I classify the cost in my 'hobby' category in my budget.  Its a healthy and fun hobby, and is no different than spending $ on travel or entertainment, so yes, I think its mustachian, as long as you are mindfully spending, within your means, in a way that brings you happiness.

mandy_2002

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 05:58:53 PM »
I signed up for a couple of 5ks coming up at the end of the summer. For me, it is motivation to work out more regularly. I find that if I don't have a deadline I can rationalize prioritizing something else over exercise very easily. Plus, I will get a t-shirt for each, and I am low on t-shirts. The races I signed up for are also fundraisers for two charitable events. Yes, my dollars would go further if I just donated directly, but having an event like this increases their exposure in the community. I'd assume that would benefit them as well.

Besides, running with a big group of people like that is fun.

I have definitely signed up for races partially because of the t-shirt.  It's mostly been for a goal to shoot for, but I get more enjoyment from the t-shirt than the run.  No matter how much I trained, I always felt like dying after a short distance run.  I don't do this anymore.  I'd rather walk 5 miles that run a 5k.

Left

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1159
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 06:03:19 PM »
i do the one with the kc chiefs, fun to use the football stadium and meet the players/cheerleaders and see the locker room and such, get a shirt and medal too

but i walk it in a hour...

mostly, its a fun community event that they do to tie the team to kc

SecretMinimalist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Hong Kong
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 06:12:34 PM »
Running in an organised race doesn't have to cost you anything. There are lots of free 5km runs organised by volunteers at different places around the world. They are called Park Run. It started in the UK but there are some in the USA and other countries. The atmosphere probably won't be as fun as a race for charity (no fancy dress costumes etc) but you might not want that anyway.

http://www.parkrun.com/countries/

Civex

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2015, 08:51:33 PM »
Charity, a challenge, or way to identify your current level of fitness. I don't particularly like 5ks, but will run 3-5 a year as gauges of my fitness, to support the local XC team (about half of the ones in my town benefit their team,) or as a reason to push harder than I would on a normal run. I agree that paying $20-30 for something I could technically do on my own goes can sometimes rub me the wrong way, but I'm always glad I ran after the race. Personally I prefer half or full marathons.

With your first few it does feel like a huge accomplishment (and is) and as far as an opportunity costs and dollars spent, is (in my opinion) one of the best hobbies. Spending $30 to run a 5k seems much less stupid then spending it on a pizza and beer.

Auckland Stubble

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2015, 10:33:06 PM »
If you enjoy them immensely, do them once per month or so then it is only $120-180 per year to fuel a passion.

If you really enjoy it, why deprive yourself?

I've trained for Marathon races and 5k events are my favorite. Can train for them by only running 3-4 hours per week instead of the 5-8 hours that marathon training took me. Plus it is fun to rock up and run a sub 20 minute 5k and do speed work.

Matt_D

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Virginia
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2015, 06:58:32 AM »
I didn't used to be a runner... but have become one (very gradually) because of the health benefits and how good I feel when I'm in good enough shape to run well.

For 5k races: I've done a lot, some free, many fund-raising, a few neither. What I've found is that:
1 - If for charity, and a charity I support, I can donate AND get a good experience out of it
2 - Many races have free shirts (or shirts you can get for a low add-on price), and sometimes these are nice running shirts that would actually cost more your race fee if bought at a store!
3 - Trail running in particular has exposed me to groups of fun outdoors-y people that I like being around
4 - Running by myself is fun, but it's also good to "benchmark" myself every once in a while by doing a race. I can easily figure out how well I'm doing and if there is an improvement, it can be really encouraging! I'll almost never run as hard by myself as I will in a race, so I feel the race is occasionally necessary for motivation.
5 - A race gives me something specific to train for. Generally I run for health, but that's pretty dang abstract and having something specific really helps sometimes.


RunHappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 561
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2015, 07:08:50 AM »
For me races are fun and are probably the one thing I will really splurge on (I typically do 1 Ragnar Relay and about 3-4 half marathons a year).  Most of the races I run are 13.1 + miles but I still do the occasional 5k race, because #1 they almost always benefit a charity and #2 they are a lot of fun! 

Running for fitness or on your own is a completely different feel than running a 5k race.  There is a lot of energy, people of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. I love them.

Bill76

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2015, 01:02:21 PM »
In our area, there's a 5k almost every weekend, usually to benefit one charity or another. Unfortunately, by the time the organizers pay for permits, insurance, and race production costs (road closures, porta-potties, water/gatorade, and chip timing), the charities don't make a whole lot of money.

Our running group does a few free 5k "races" throughout the year, always with some kind of theme to make them more fun than the usual boring run down one of three stretches of pavement that the city allows races to use. We also put on two free half marathons each year with a pot-luck lunch afterward, but you're responsible for providing your own gatorade and energy gels during the race (unless we happen to get a sponsor to pay for those things, which we were lucky enough to do this year).  The 5k runs are untimed, and the half marathons are timed by hand, saving a ton of money for the club.  We always collect gently used shoes and canned goods for the local shelters and food bank at these events, so there's a charity aspect to it as well.  We also sponsor multiple group runs and free cross-training workout each week.

How do we pay for these things? With one paid marathon/half that we put on in the spring.  Most of the proceeds go to race swag (custom handmade medals and other goodies) and awesome food for the runners, and the rest is used to cover the costs of our other activities throughout the year. The whole thing is a labor of love, but we do hope to eventually be able to pay our race director a small salary in order to accelerate her husband's FIRE goal...

All that being said, we usually won't pay to run a 5k, but we spend way too much on marathons and half marathons every year. We use the races as an excuse to travel, and it's one of the luxuries we allow ourselves in the budget.

Wilson Hall

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 161
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2015, 06:38:50 PM »
I didn't used to be a runner... but have become one (very gradually) because of the health benefits and how good I feel when I'm in good enough shape to run well.

For 5k races: I've done a lot, some free, many fund-raising, a few neither. What I've found is that:
1 - If for charity, and a charity I support, I can donate AND get a good experience out of it
2 - Many races have free shirts (or shirts you can get for a low add-on price), and sometimes these are nice running shirts that would actually cost more your race fee if bought at a store!
3 - Trail running in particular has exposed me to groups of fun outdoors-y people that I like being around
4 - Running by myself is fun, but it's also good to "benchmark" myself every once in a while by doing a race. I can easily figure out how well I'm doing and if there is an improvement, it can be really encouraging! I'll almost never run as hard by myself as I will in a race, so I feel the race is occasionally necessary for motivation.
5 - A race gives me something specific to train for. Generally I run for health, but that's pretty dang abstract and having something specific really helps sometimes.

All good points. I've only done a couple of 5K events, but they were loads of fun, for good causes, and I had friends running with me/cheering me on for encouragement. I train on my own on weekends for free, but having the occasional race to look forward to gives me extra motivation.

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1826
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2015, 08:22:48 PM »
I like the shorter distances just to make me work on speed.  Also as they are so common it is much easier to find one that works for me than a relatively rare half/full marathon.  Then there is just so much less hassle and stress than with longer/bigger races, I mean worst case I feel horrible and have to walk/jog a 35 min 5k then go home and take a nap not much is lost.  But if something happens in a half then I have probably lost a few weeks getting specifically ready for it, maybe a night in a hotel, higher entry fees then still have to hobble miles back to the car and it will be 4-6 months until I can try again.  Running is a hobby and the shorter races are just less stress.  Dont get me wrong I want ever faster times; I just find the shorter stuff more fun.

Most of the races I see advertised start with early registration around 30$ - stupid.

Bill76

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2015, 07:22:24 AM »
I like the shorter distances just to make me work on speed.  Also as they are so common it is much easier to find one that works for me than a relatively rare half/full marathon.  Then there is just so much less hassle and stress than with longer/bigger races, I mean worst case I feel horrible and have to walk/jog a 35 min 5k then go home and take a nap not much is lost.  But if something happens in a half then I have probably lost a few weeks getting specifically ready for it, maybe a night in a hotel, higher entry fees then still have to hobble miles back to the car and it will be 4-6 months until I can try again.  Running is a hobby and the shorter races are just less stress.  Dont get me wrong I want ever faster times; I just find the shorter stuff more fun.

Most of the races I see advertised start with early registration around 30$ - stupid.

I agree that long distance running isn't the most mustachian of hobbies, but I have to ask why you need to wait 4-6 months between half marathons?  Is it just because there aren't a lot of races in your area?

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1826
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: The appeal of the 5k race?
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2015, 08:06:20 AM »
I like the shorter distances just to make me work on speed.  Also as they are so common it is much easier to find one that works for me than a relatively rare half/full marathon.  Then there is just so much less hassle and stress than with longer/bigger races, I mean worst case I feel horrible and have to walk/jog a 35 min 5k then go home and take a nap not much is lost.  But if something happens in a half then I have probably lost a few weeks getting specifically ready for it, maybe a night in a hotel, higher entry fees then still have to hobble miles back to the car and it will be 4-6 months until I can try again.  Running is a hobby and the shorter races are just less stress.  Dont get me wrong I want ever faster times; I just find the shorter stuff more fun.

Most of the races I see advertised start with early registration around 30$ - stupid.

I agree that long distance running isn't the most mustachian of hobbies, but I have to ask why you need to wait 4-6 months between half marathons?  Is it just because there aren't a lot of races in your area?

There are many 5ks per month that I could do locally without a hotel room but only one half or full per month sort of near me, and it still might require a drive friday night to be ready for a 8am satruday start.  Also I travel for work so it is a question of being in town (and ready to run) and I sometimes dont know my travel schedule very far out or things can change; work will accommodate important stuff but they will grow tired of every BS half I want to be in town for.  All this probably does not apply to most other runners and none of it is insurmountable for me but I would rather apply my energies elsewhere then just trying to get the the start line.