NORTHAMPTON, Mass.– In a nod to its mission of access to education, Smith College is sponsoring its first annual 5-kilometer running race with a two-fold educational emphasis, about the joys of participating in healthy activities and the importance of supporting opportunities for local schoolchildren.
The Fall Fit 5K, starting at 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 21, encourages those new to the sport, as well as longtime runners, to participate in the race. “Don’t listen to your fears,” counsels the registration information. “You are not too slow, old, young, skinny, busy, tired or out of shape.”
In addition, the event is a fundraiser for the Northampton Education Foundation, a non-profit organization created to fund projects and programs that expand educational opportunities, foster creativity and enhance academic experiences in Northampton public schools.
“The race is designed for families with young children or older parents who want to participate together,” said Lynn Oberbillig, director of athletics. “We are asking the Smith community – students, faculty, staff and families – to join with the Northampton community to participate in this event as a show of solidarity for healthy living.”
Participants can register for either a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run or a 1.5-mile walk or run to start at 1 p.m. on the Smith College Athletic Fields. Registration is open to individuals, families or teams, and special rates are available for students and seniors. All participants will receive T-shirts.
Following the races, the Smith College Athletics Department will host a “Fitness Festival” at the Indoor Track and Tennis (ITT) facility at the corner of College Lane and West Street. The festival will include activities for both children and adults. Children will be able to take part in an obstacle course, use slides and a bouncy house. Options for adults: fitness testing; massages; activities to improve speed, strength and flexibility; and information about managing life changes.
As part of the event’s educational component, organizers developed training tips designed for each of eight weeks leading to the event. On the day of the race, the tips include such information as how much water and food to consume prior to racing.
In addition, there is information about the process a participant’s body goes through at the beginning of the race. For example, the tips advise, “don’t be surprised if you feel short of breath in the first half-mile. That is just your nerves accelerating your heart rate. As soon as you get into your running rhythm, you will calm down.”
Perhaps, most importantly, the tips encourage people to “take the first step, sign up today for the Fall Fit 5K” at https://www.smith.edu/athletics/fit5k/. “What are you waiting for?”