Bug Sur 25

This April marks the 25th presentation of the Big Sur International Marathon, and the race’s Board of Directors is planning a whole series of special events to celebrate the occasion. What started as a gleam in Judge Bill Burleigh’s eye after a drive down Highway 1 in the mid 1980’s has turned into one of the most respected, honored, and best-run marathons in the world.

Here are some of the festivities planned for next month:

April 5 to April 30th: Art show at the Monterey Convention Center. Featuring a special exhibit of Big Sur Marathon posters, programs, shirts and memorabilia through the years. Several Big Sur artists will have works on display that reflect the beauty and spirit of their community.

April 19th: Start of the Boston to Big Sur Challenge. A special challenge issued by Big Sur Race Director Wally Kastner for this year’s race. 350 intrepid runners, including 20 locals, signed up to run both the Boston Marathon and the Big Sur Marathon - 2 marathons, on 2 coasts, in 6 days. The Big Sur Marathon will provide a special finisher’s tent, medals, jackets, and other surprises for those completing the challenge.

April 23 and 24: The Marathon Health and Fitness Expo. Located at the Monterey Conference Center, and open for the entire community. You’ll find the latest in shoes, running gear, and health products, as well as a whole collection of 25th Presentation clothing and merchandise. There will be clinics on race strategy and general running advice. Go see what the running community is buzzing about.

April 24th: The JUST RUN 3K. This special race for kids and their parents is held at Lovers Point at 8AM. The course runs toward Monterey on Ocean View Blvd and joins the Rec trail near Hopkins Marine Station to return to the finish at Lovers point. A record number of 33 schools have already entered, and nearly 3,000 kids and parents. The Marathon will also provide a record amount of money in prizes to local schools based on participation. Enter online at www.bsim.org, be there by 7:15 AM to register on race morning.

April 25th: The 5K and other marathon events. You can still enter the 5K online at www.bsim.org, but all other events - the 21 miler, 10.6 miler, 9 miler, and marathon relay - are sold out.

April 25th: The MAIN EVENT. As usual, the marathon sold out long before race day – and the 25th edition has lots of new treats for the runners. Go to the special interest section at www.bsim.org to check out the unique new mile markers created by local muralist John Cerney; they’re certain to entertain, motivate, and inspire every runner. This year’s runners will also be treated to more musical groups than ever before, as well as perennial favorite Michael Martinez and his grand piano at the Bixby Bridge.

After race party: New this year, when the race is over and everyone has had time to freshen up, there is a special celebration at the Monterey Marriott at 4:30 on Sunday. Like the marathon, this event is sold out – but if you’re already signed up, be sure to have a great time!

Afterward, start making your plans for the 26th presentation of the Big Sur Marathon in 2011. It’s an event that just keeps getting better and better.

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Take 5 To Run

Our previous column was delivered from atop a soapbox, lamenting the obesity problem that plagues the health and well-being of American children. Unfortunately, the last 30 years of public service announcements, nutritional education, and instruction on physical activity has done little to curb the epidemic, as kids (not to mention adults) are still getting fatter.

So this week’s column is a call to action, and we’re encouraging all of our running friends to get involved. It’s time to stop talking about the issue, and start DOING something about it.

If you’re like us, you know how great running makes you feel, both physically and mentally. You know how beneficial it is for your cardiovascular health and emotional well being. You also know how rewarding it feels to share these experiences with others.

So here’s what we want you to do: participate in an effort called “Take 5 to Run”. It’s not an official program; in fact, we just made it up. But the premise is pretty simple, and has the potential to be highly effective.

Look at the numbers. There are currently 30 million adults who claim they run at least a few times a month. 10 million of them run “regularly” and entered organized races last year. These are the people who we’re asking to Take 5 to Run.

Over the course of one year, invite 5 of your non-running friends for a run. Encourage them to get started, help them select shoes if needed, and take them on an easy jog. Help them through the initial uncertainty, and celebrate their every accomplishment on their way to starting a running program.

Later, ask them to pay it forward; once they are established runners, recommend that they take another 5 people out for a run. And so on and so on. Do the math: if 10 million runners recruit 50 million non-runners, and that group grows to 250 million in a couple of years … before you know it we have a nation of runners and the obesity trend is reversed.

Obviously, we aren’t naive enough to think that everyone will successfully convert 5 others, but we optimistically believe that many of you are capable of drawing new runners in. As long as the numbers trend in the right direction, we’ll still end the epidemic. So how do you instruct someone to start? Remember the name of the game.

Take 5 to Run is a phrase that can also be used as a blueprint to get friends or kids started. The first run or walk should only be 5 minutes. Aim for a habit of 5 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Tell 5 people about it, for moral support and to hold yourself accountable. Select one day to increase your distance by 5 more minutes, and then another day, and then another and another as you continue to improve.

We’d also love to see the running industry step up and help people Take 5 to Run. Shoe companies or specialty running stores could give discounts to those who are buying their first pair of shoes and mention Take 5 to Run. Races should give discounts to those who are entering their first race after they’ve Taken 5 to Run. Get some national running organizations on board, and who knows where this might end up.

But for the time being, it can all begin with you. Take the pledge, and Take 5 to Run.

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