OPINION COLUMNS

An unathletic view on 5Ks

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, July 5, 2014

I am not really the athletic type.

Most of my tosses for tennis serves hit my head instead of the racquet, and my dashes to first base look more like a ballerina’s prance – hands stuck out in the most prissy manner and all.

I may not possess athleticism or coordination, but I do have a yearning to contribute to my community.

Erika Pedroza

Erika Pedroza

That is why, despite my unpreparedness, I like to run 5K races.

Last month, three friends and I partook in the mud-slinging and rock-climbing obstacles of the Caveman Crawl at Northwest OHV Park in Bridgeport.

Each of the obstructions challenged abilities I didn’t even know I had – from the ability to crawl through shallow water over a rocky bottom with a net a few inches above my head to using a rope to pull myself up a muddy slope.

I cursed the uphill part of the course where the inclines strained every muscle in my legs. But once I crested the hill, I quickly retracted that sentiment as I navigated the rocky course where one wrong step threatened to result in a roll, face-first, downward.

But after coming across the last of three mounds of muddy tractor tires, the feeling of accomplishment was insurmountable and worth the splinters in my hand, gashes across my knees and mud caked on my face.

And I don’t know about the three friends, but after completing the course, I was much more grateful for them and their boosts – both in words of encouragement and physical pushes over obstacles.

Despite a late start, the event, organized by Jonathan and Michelle Cortez of Edge Fitness in Bridgeport, attracted more than 500 participants – many who slept in area hotels, ate at local restaurants and fueled at nearby gas stations.

In addition, proceeds of the event will be donated to Bridgeport’s Parks and Recreation Department to develop trails in the off-road park where the event is held.

This fall, the Decatur Junior Woman’s Club will host its second annual City on a Hill Color Run and Fun Run.

The club donates the money raised at that event – and at the club’s other three fundraisers: a golf tournament, Daddy-Daughter Dance and basketball tournament – to its philanthropies – Wise Area Relief Mission, Wise County Christian Counseling, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Wise and Jack Counties, Raquel’s Wings for Life, Wise Choices Pregnancy Resource Center, Decatur Parks and Recreation, scholarships and other requests.

Last year’s inaugural run raised about $4,000. Planning is well underway for this year’s event, which is Saturday, Sept. 13, at Decatur High School.

That’s a couple of months away, leaving ample time for those of you who may be interested to begin your training.

The race course is the same, however runners will run it opposite. Last year, participants tackled the summit in front of the school at the end, and this years the course begins there. It continues north on College Street, winds around Hale Street and Carson Elementary on Business 287.

This year, vendors are invited to set up for $50. There are also sponsorship levels of $50, $100 and $250. If interested, contact Amy Wilson at 817-841-4471.

All registration will take place online. Cost for the 5K is $30 through Sept. 5 and includes a shirt. Thereafter, online registration will close, and late registration will be available only on packet pickup day (Friday, Sept. 12, at Excellent Dental) and race day. The fee increases to $40.

The 1-mile fun run is $15 if you register early, or $20 at packet pickup or race day.

Visit www.decaturjuniorwomansclub.com for information.

I may come in last, covered in scrapes and bruises, but I’ll be out there and feeling – if even for a little bit – like an “athlete.”

If that goes through, at least my efforts were toward a good cause.

Erika is a reporter for the Messenger.

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