The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 17, 2012

Where do we go from here?

By Justin Jones, Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 — Stanly Regional Medical Center’s HealthWave 5K was about more than just running 3.1 miles.

I knew I wouldn’t win, but I also knew that Saturday wasn’t about winning.

Following the race, Stanly Regional and its sponsors did a great job of recognizing runners based off age and gender groups, as they deserved, but, it wasn’t about the medals they received.

Saturday’s run was about each person that showed up on Saturday with their running shoes and a winner’s attitude that showed they care about themselves.

Having an event like Saturday’s wellness run motivated many people, including me, to get outside and train, forcing our legs to keep going when we just didn’t feel like it. I’m a competitive person, so I wanted to finish well, but all that really did was help me to beat out the moms pushing strollers.

While my competitiveness and training proved helpful Saturday, it wasn’t and won’t be those things that make a difference in my health, but it’s what happens from now on that matters.

Everyone that made the commitment to running in Saturday’s race, whether you braved the hills in the 5K or just enjoyed the fun run, you tested your body, at what felt like to the limit, and came through better than you were before the race began. Maybe short on breath, but better off.

Now that Saturday’s over, will you continue? Because that’s the true reason behind the HealthWave run.

As I spoke with Tara Ludwig, the event coordinator, it was clear that the hospital put on this event to get people proactive on their own health.

Sure, the 5K was a race, but it’s not over. The race continues for the rest of our lives. How we want to finish is up to us. We’re given a chance to care for ourselves. And extreme health conditions aside, we’re without excuse.

After looking at the results, a 62-year-old, Jack McRae, finished sixth overall.

I probably only saw the bottom of his shoes as he faded in the distance at the first turn. If I were to ask Mr. McRae how he finished so well, I’m sure he wouldn’t say it was because he had an energy drink and was just excited. He would say he’s been running for years, getting up early or going to bed late, because he cared about his health.

The last two to cross the line finished the race in just over an hour. I didn’t get a chance to speak with them, and I’m sure they didn’t care about winning.

But they sent a message that they care about their bodies and their health, too.

In case you’re curious, I finished 19th, with a time of 25:13.

It was my first 5K, and now I know, it won’t be my last.