What Running's About

THE SYRACUSE FESTIVAL OF RACES RECOMMENDS THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN AND GET HIS OR HER APPROVAL BEFORE ENGAGING IN VIGOROUS WALKING OR RUNNING ACTIVITIES, PARTICULARLY IF YOU ARE OVER THE AGE OF 30, HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY INACTIVE FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, ARE SIGNIFICANTLY OVERWEIGHT, OR HAVE A PERSONAL HISTORY OR FAMILY HISTORY OF HEART PROBLEMS OR STROKE!

Many experienced road runners are thoroughly familiar with "what running's about": athletic competition, physical benefits, psychological benefits, social benefits, even educational and economic benefits. But there are some experienced runners--and millions of occasional runners and non-runners--who've never been exposed to the full range of benefits that running can offer.

The Syracuse Festival of Races exists to provide these many benefits to everyone, and--especially--to illustrate and acquaint occasional exercisers and anyone outside the running community with all the good things that we like to call "what running's about."

Athletic Competition
The heart of road running is the pursuit of improvement--the act of chasing excellence. Some of us measure this by our finish place; some are after a specific time goal; and some are looking for a level of effort that says "I can" when our weary legs and aching lungs are telling us we can't.

The Festival of Races wants to encourage all levels and kinds of "chasing excellence." Our fast, out-and-back, USATF-certified courses are designed to be attractive to everyone: world-class runners seeking to improve their resumes, outstanding age-group performers gunning for national age-group rankings, local runners of all abilities seeking PRs, and novices attempting to cover the distance for the first time ever.

As a race committee, we're doing OUR BEST to give you the opportunity and incentive to do YOUR BEST!

Physical Benefits
Enhancing the health and function of your heart, lungs, and circulatory systems is often touted as chief among the physical benefits of regular aerobic activities such as walking and running. And--given the importance of cardiac, pulmonary, and circulatory function to quality of life--aerobic benefits probably deserve top billing.

But what about the weight-control benefits of regular walking and running--the two most accessible calorie-burning activities available to everyone? Think of all the diseases for which medical researchers list obesity as an important risk factor: a range of cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis. Couldn't you do without these? Wouldn't more daily exercise help?

And what about the osteoporosis-fighting benefits of weight-bearing activities--of which walking and running are also the two most accessible varieties?

Want to know how thousands of smokers became non-smokers and stayed non-smokers? They became runners. You can too!

Psychological Benefits
Did you know that regular vigorous aerobic exercise is a natural mood enhancer and, thus, an effective anti-depressant?

Have you ever considered the positive psychological effects of repeated successes--in training runs as well as in races?

Have you ever witnessed the pride and sheer delight on the face of a young finisher at a children's running event?

Have you ever asked a runner about the feeling of confidence, power, and self-reliance that comes from knowing that she or he is physically fit and routinely able to endure (even enjoy!) long periods of physical exertion?

Social Benefits
Where in the world will you ever find such a diverse and interesting mix of successful people as at a major road race? It's a great mix of different educational backgrounds, different occupations, different levels of athletic ability, different ages, different races and national origins, different sexes, and different economic circumstances. But all of the participants have a common interest in running, a respect for the benefits of exercise, and (very likely) a set of shared experiences including training routes, other races, and information relating to running and training. What a great place to meet and get to know people!

And the environment of most road races? As wholesome and family-oriented as could be: smoke-free, alcohol-free, vulgarity-free, with a prevailing attitude of respect and support for everyone's fellow participants. Is there a nicer place to meet and interact with nice people? We doubt it!

Educational Benefits
You're at a party and you overhear a couple of people talking about "stroke volumes," "iliotibial band syndrome," "high-density lipoproteins," "increased range of motion," "anaerobic thresholds," and "anti-oxidants." Are you overhearing a conversation between a couple of physicians, or a couple of runners? These days, you really couldn't know without asking.

Given the convenient access that runners now have to information on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, sports medicine, and training theory, many runners have expanded their personal understanding in these fields enormously. The result: They know more about their bodies, their fitness, and their health than the vast majority of the people on the planet. That makes them better able to protect and enhance their health, and that's information that they can really benefit from!

Economic Benefits
Numerous studies have indicated that a fitter workforce is a more productive workforce, and that a community's healthcare costs are dramatically lower when that community embraces a physically active lifestyle characterized by regular, year-round aerobic activities

This it true for individuals as well. You want to be more productive? Lose less time to illness? Spend less of your income on healthcare? Then be a walker or a runner (or cyclist, swimmer, or rower), twelve months a year for your lifetime!

For more information about the many benefits of running--including the Road Runners Club of America's top ten answers to the question, "Why run?"--check out the RRCA website at www.rrca.org.

THE SYRACUSE FESTIVAL OF RACES RECOMMENDS THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN AND GET HIS OR HER APPROVAL BEFORE ENGAGING IN VIGOROUS WALKING OR RUNNING ACTIVITIES, PARTICULARLY IF YOU ARE OVER THE AGE OF 30, HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY INACTIVE FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, ARE SIGNIFICANTLY OVERWEIGHT, OR HAVE A PERSONAL HISTORY OR FAMILY HISTORY OF HEART PROBLEMS OR STROKE!