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From left to right: Aubrey Harper, Suhaila Sikand, Erin Martin, Renae Lewis; Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo

When I heard about the Stride for Aggie Pride 5K, a philanthropic fun run on campus, I jumped at the chance to sign up. I have recently become a long-distance runner (cause I’ve been introduced to the buffet style of the DCs and found I have remarkably low self-control when it comes to food), so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to complete my first running milestone.

Once I checked into the details of the race, I realized not only how do-able it is, but also how awesome it will be. So I convinced my roommates (pictured above) to do it with me! None of them considered themselves to be  long-distance runners; Renae Lewis, right, competes in judo in the UC Davis Judo Club. Erin Martin, middle right, is part of the UC Davis Club Soccer Club. Suhaila Sikand, middle left, is a Bollywood dancer on the UC Davis Lashkara team. But they were still willing to try something new, and together, we make a pretty legit and diverse team.

To those of you who don’t consider themselves runners, don’t make the mistake of missing out on the race just because the “run” part of “fun run” sounds a little intimidating. The Stride for Aggie Pride 5K is an opportunity for the Davis community to embrace their individual athletic ability to support fellow Aggies. And have an amazing time doing it.

Here are a list of reasons why you should be just as excited as us about the Stride for Aggie Pride 5K …

  • First of all, all proceeds benefit the ASUCD Endowment Fund and We Are Aggie Pride, which give financial aid to students. So you’re basically helping others while improving your fitness.

  • It’s a FUN run. We’re talking Zumba-style stretching beforehand, a cappella, dance, and drum performances afterward. Not to mention a beautiful route that goes through the arboretum and features fun facts to read while you make your way around the loop.

  • As far as races, a 5K (3.1 miles) goes by pretty quickly. Particularly when you’re surrounded by other hyped-up runners! But it’s still considered long distance running. So you can talk up your long distance running skills without the effort of a marathon!

  • You get a T-shirt. Do I need to say more?

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From left to right: Aubrey Harper, Erin Martin,Suhaila Sikand, Renae Lewis; Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo

Feeling convinced? Here are some steps (pun intended) to make the most of the Stride for Aggie Pride 5K:

1. Find friends to run with. Running is about a million times better when you can share the moments of pain and triumph with someone going through the same thing. Plus it’s always more fun to have a friendly and equally sweaty face next to you.

2. Embrace your athletic background. As you can see, I’m not running with any other long distance runners. As a judoka, soccer player, Bollywood dancer and runner, we are probably one of the more unique running groups. Just because you’re not a marathon runner doesn’t mean running in a race isn’t for you. That being said, jumping into a 5K without at least a month of training isn’t for someone who doesn’t already exercise on a semi-regular basis. But don’t worry, it’ll be a festive event even if you’re not running the full race, so come out to support your friends and see the post-run performances!

3. Find out a race strategy. Finishing in record time may not be your goal. That’s fine! But it’s a good idea to have some idea as to what you can handle in a long distance race. There are tons of fitness blogs out there. Check out these 5K training tips and running strategies. Most importantly, listen to your body. Don’t risk injury by pushing yourself too hard.

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4. Learn how to fuel your body. Whether you hit a wall in the middle of your race or end up with a side cramp is largely based on your pre-race meal. Especially if you’re aiming for speed, you want to avoid running on an empty stomach. See why breakfast is your best friend. Basic rule: Carbs before, and a mix of carbs and protein after. Don’t forget water!

5. Bring your Aggie spirit and be ready to have fun! Group stretching, raffles, bounce houses (for those of you who run over 3 miles and after feel the need to bounce off a little energy, plus student performers after the race? Yes, please. Embrace the runner inside. Sign up now! For more info, see the Stride for Aggie Pride 5K Facebook page. Hope to see you there!friends running.gif

By: Aubrey Harper