Run for your life: Why race?


Running, walking, or exercise in general enhances everything else in your life.

Physically you eat, sleep and feel in ways that make everyday life more enjoyable. On the cerebral front, good ideas and creative solutions bubble up out of nowhere as you jog along. The time you devote to exercise is akin to making a disciplined investment in your savings accounts. It will pay off.

I hope you are not only in agreement, but that you’ve also made a life choice to exercise on the road, in the pool, at the FIT Center, on tennis courts or wherever.

Now the interesting question: If you’ve made fitness a virtue, why pay $40 (10K) or $30 (5K) to join hundreds of sweaty people in the Shelter Island Run on June 20? Trust me, there are good answers. Here are five of mine.

1. Personal best. No matter how you train, competition will bring out your best performance. If you have interest in measuring your progress, relative to others in your age and gender, racing does just that.

2. Guilt-free fun. Finishing the race brings on post-race camaraderie — you have to experience it. It’s a mutual high. Unique to this sport, smiles are everywhere. Nobody agonizes over “how could I double fault, or blow that easy putt,” etc. And at the Shelter Island race, we not only have the best post race food and plenty of it (thanks, Stop & Shop), we have an awesome post-race party (thanks, SALT)!

3. Being thankful. Racing is a chance to give thanks for your individual ability to participate at any level.

4. Giving back. The Shelter Island race fees stay right here on the East End, providing essential support for qualified East End charities. Our net administration cost is zilch so the payout is maximized.

5. Making a statement. All runners have a goal to finish, but their mission can be much more — the memory of a family member, support for a cancer patient, to prove to others and ourselves that we can accomplish a goal.

Training for the race is so much more doable when you elevate your goal beyond your own performance.

Put yourself on the starting line June 20 as a walker, runner and one who is committed to giving.

See you there.

Richard Denning is a member of the Shelter Island Run Board.