Over the past few years the running community has grown dramatically and embraced the “non-runner”. Half-marathons and marathons are no longer just for the avid runner or fitness guru, but they have become a healthy alternative to the weekend happy hour. You are now seeing friends and families getting together to train for races that are months away. Half-marathons for the non-runner have become a reason to learn to like to run (or at least tolerate it), get in better shape and be social. By having friends to train with you can start out slow, avoid burnout and stay motivated through race day. Runner or not, you don’t have to be in the best shape of your life to cross the finish line.
More and more people are signing up with the intention to walk, run/walk or just to finish. In a world where sports are a big focus, and having a competitive nature is the norm, winning and finish times don’t have to matter. It isn’t about being a runner or a non-runner, but it is about the experience that you get and reaching a goal that you set for yourself.
Holiday-inspired, all women’s, wine country, cause-oriented and destination half-marathons have become the half-marathons for the non-runner. These races have been purposely marketed for the appeal of what they have going on in and around the race. Wine tasting, beer gardens, pedicures, massages, bouncy houses and tasty food vendors at the finish line have made these races an event to look forward to. The Nike Women’s Half-Marathon and Marathon, for example, is held in San Francisco each year and is reason enough for a girls weekend. With over 20,000 registrants, women of all ages are able to come together to be a little more girlier than usual.
The race has been known to include manicures at the expo, a bra exchange (where you can trade in your sports bra for a new Nike one during the race for free), a chocolate mile and a Tiffany’s necklace as the finish line medal. Many participants show up a few days early or stay a few days after to experience the city with friends. You no longer have to feel guilty for all of the good food and cocktails consumed with friends in one weekend – you just finished a half-marathon!
These races will soon become a part of your yearly activities and possibly a healthy addiction. Before you know it, you will be planning your costume for the Run Like Hell Halloween Half-Marathon months in advance, setting time goals for yourself and sucking in new friends to train with. You may never find a love for running, but you will find a since of achievement and have made some good memories along the way. Or, maybe you will mark it off the list and move on to the next challenge. Either way, you don’t have to be a runner to finish a half-marathon. They are for everyone, and as we get older we are looking for more challenges to help us live life and feel accomplished.