Rookie’s guide to running/walking the Bellin Run 10K

April 25, 2013

So you haven’t done the Bellin Run before, or any 10K run/walk for that matter, and are feeling a bit intimidated. Don’t be nervous – at all. You’re in great company.

Last year’s Bellin Run drew more than 18,000. Of that number, 28 percent were first-timers. This annual race welcomes participants of all skill levels – world-class competitors as well as casual runners, joggers and walkers.

Here are a few tips to get you beyond the jitters and ready to sign up for your first Bellin Run.

Grab your race packet early
Your race packet contains your bib, a timing chip and your Bellin Run T-shirt. Get your packet early so there are no worries about having to rush to pick it up on race morning. Get it Friday, June 7 between 3-8 p.m. at the Registration/Packet Pick-Up Tent during the Health & Fitness Expo at Astor Park. It’ll be one less thing to be concerned about.

Use common sense when dressing for the race
In general, race day veterans dress for big event as if the weather is 15 degrees warmer than it actually is.

Pin your race bib onto your shirt
Even if you have rookie jitters on the inside, you can at least look like a seasoned veteran on the outside. One first step to doing that is to wear your race bib on the front of your shirt, not the back. It helps official race photographers identify your race photos later when they make them available for purchase online.

Arrive early on race day
Scope out the starting area, mingle with your fellow runners and walkers, get interviewed by local morning TV shows or newspaper reporters and get those jitters out. Oh, yeah, and get better parking – a shuttle service is offered from Shopko’s East Town Mall and Bay Park Square Mall stores between 6:30-7:20 a.m. with return trips from 9 a.m.-noon.

Use the Porta Potty
Enough said.

Remember your corral
The Bellin Run uses a corral system to “line up” participants. The system ensures the run/walk is safe and enjoyable and allows participants the opportunity for peak performance. Remember your corral, hang out in that area prior to the race and enjoy a smoother start to your race experience.

Water stops are good; use them
There’s absolutely no shame in having to slow down or stop to grab a cup of water, unless you’re a camel and they aren’t allowed on the course anyway. It’s also a very cool and classy gesture to thank the volunteers as you chug and go.

Bring your cheerleaders
Any family members or friends you have that aren’t participating in the race would make for an uplifting personal cheering section as you test yourself on the course. Ask them to secure a spot near the start/finish line so they can cheer as you finish. Let them provide that final boost to make it across the finish line.

Your goal is to finish
It’s probably best to not try and break the course record if this is your first road race. Finish the race and revel in that accomplishment. Your first finish is your personal record to be broken next year.

Remember to have fun
That’s what this is about. Fun … and fitness, and overall better physical health and wellness. You get the picture. Somewhere in all that, just have fun.

Continue with your fitness routine
After race day, don’t just put your fitness routine on hiatus until next year. Keep it up. Build on it. Bellin Health Fitness & Athletic Performance has programs designed to help keep you motivated all year round. Call them at (920) 430-4756. You’ll feel good, look good and have an even better Bellin Run experience in 2014.


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