Athens – Habitat’s 11th Annual Turkey Trot!

(Me after the race)

I ran my first race today! It was a 5K and all proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity, a wonderful nonprofit, “economical housing ministry dedicated to the ideal that all people deserve a simple, decent place to live on terms that they can afford to pay.” One of Habitat for Humanity’s “Four Pillars” is fundraising, which I can verify they did very well today, as eyeballing tells me approximately 75-150 people showed for the race.

You should definitely check out Habitat for Humanity’s website (posted below), but I want to switch gears to the running part.

Okay, if you’ve never signed up and completed a race before, I highly recommend that you do! There’s something so rewarding about challenging yourself mentally and physically; there’s something special about running outside that engages all of your senses; there’s something encouraging about the fact that a herd of people have decided to undergo the same challenge you have.

You say you go to the gym? I say, why do you limit yourself to staying cooped up inside? You say you’re not a runner? I say, try. You say you don’t like running? I say try it again. You say but what good does running do for me? I say, it has many benefits:

  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Helps to maintain weight
  • Decreases risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Relieves stress
  • Helps better, more regular sleep
  • Gives you energy
  • Provides you with endorphins and keeps your spirits high
  • Is linked to reducing depression
  • Let’s you interact with the environment
  • Enables you to see more areas in your town, or those that you’ve seen before but from a different perspective.

I haven’t always been a runner. It wasn’t until about two years ago when I decided that I needed some excuse to get me outside. I spent way too much time inside – on the computer, watching TV – you know how that goes. The days would pass and I’d realize that sometimes I didn’t even step foot outside because I was doing work! That’s when I started running – not really for health reasons (although these benefits naturally follow) but just to feel like I was more part of the world, my community.

Then my running overflowed to vacation time and I began running while on vacation. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed seeing a new city on foot. I felt like a local jogging past the town’s most popular coffee shop or that restaurant on the corner that’s known for having the best so-and-so. Running in a foreign city is like a free sightseeing tour!

Interacting with the environment through a form of exercise is the best. Depending on where you are, you can people watch, smell great restaurant food and hear merriment from passersby all while running. But most importantly, you’re outside, which is absolutely refreshing, especially during our beautiful weather right now!

So, this is what I want to end with: Get up and get out! I challenge you to challenge yourself by signing up for a race and seeing what all the fuss is about!

-Austin Sewell

UGA’s Habitat for Humanity website: http://www.uga.edu/habitat/

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