On The Run

Jay Kumar

It's pretty hard to avoid the snow at this moment in time, especially with the nonstop TV news storm coverage overkill.

With a blizzard's worth of snow covering just about every outside surface, one can be forgiven for contemplating the next treadmill run or just sticking to shoveling.

But this is also the perfect time to start planning ahead for the warmer days of spring. Specifically, what are your running goals? Whether it's just to get in a few runs per week or to run a marathon, don't wait until the last minute to start training.

The best way to get yourself in training mode is to register for an event, so you have a tangible goal. And definitely don't wait until the last minute to sign up, especially if it's a full or half marathon, because lately such events have been filling up rather quickly.

Another factor that may hold some runners back is the sheer volume of races that are out there now. Road races have become so popular that the number of events to choose from can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions for spring events.

5K: The 5K (3.1 miles) is the gateway to road race addiction. It's usually the first race new runners will try and is usually a safe way to get started without overdoing it. "Couch to 5K" training plans introduce newbies to both the sport of running and the metric system. A great 5K series that takes place every week is the Danvers 5K Fun Run, a free timed run that kicks off each Wednesday at 7 p.m. from Sweet William's Garden Center in Danvers. The Fueled by Fitness 5K and Kids' Fun Run is scheduled for May 22 at North Beverly Elementary School in Beverly. For more information, contact Lacey DiFrancesco and Chandler Jones at fitnessfestivalteam@gmail.com.

5-miler: The 5-mile race is the next logical step after completing the 5K challenge. It's a solid race distance and one that offers runners of all abilities a decent workout. The Backshore 5-Mile Road Race in Gloucester on May 13 features a scenic, hilly course starting at Good Harbor Beach. Contact Barbara Berry of the Cape Ann YMCA at berryb@northshoreymca.org for more information.

Half-marathon: As I've noted in a past column, the half-marathon (13.1 miles) could be the perfect race distance. It's long enough to require a decent training regimen, yet not so lengthy that you need to spend hours on end doing long runs like you would if you were training for a full marathon. There are several area half marathons taking place in the spring, but a new one is the Twin Lights Half Marathon in Gloucester May 15. The race starts at Good Harbor Beach. Contact Stephanie Ridge of Pursuit Racing at steph@pursuitventuresinc.com for more information.

Marathon: The Boston Marathon is not only the premiere spring marathon, but the premiere marathon, period. And if you're not already registered, you're out of luck. But there are other marathons you can still sign up for, including the Cox Sports Providence Marathon on May 1 in Providence, R.I. Visit www.rhoderaces.com for more information. If you're willing to travel, you can find information on marathons all over North America at www.marathonguide.com.

Starts and stops

The Wicked Running Club is offering scholarships to four area runners based on the following criteria: Must be an Essex County resident, participate in a cross country or track distance running (greater than 800 meters) program as a high school senior, and must be accepted to a college or currently enrolled in a college.

Scholarships will be awarded based on a combination of academic achievement, contributions to their team, volunteer/community work and quality of application and essay. Preference will be given to residents of Wicked Running Club member towns. Applications can be found at http://wickedrunningclub.com/the-frosty-4/wicked-scholarship. For more information, e-mail Kathey Moskal at KatheyMoskal7@gmail.com.

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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to jay.kumar@gmail.com.

Upcoming races

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 19 & 26

Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William's Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

SUNDAY, JAN. 23

Danvers 10K Road Race, 115 Forest St., Danvers, 1 p.m. Hilly 10K. Contact: Rene Lavoie (North Medford Club) at 1-508-380-6268 or rainman52@verizon.net.

SUNDAY, FEB. 6

The 37th annual Great Stew Chase 15K (9.3 miles), Knights of Columbus, 177 Lynnfield St., Lynn, 10 a.m. For more information, visit www.stewchase.com.

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Visit http://coolrunning.com/eventcal/index.php for more race listings.

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