Running/Walking for the Benefit of Animals
By Alison Kanaby, M.D.
Deciding to run/walk a 5K is a great step in the direction of getting healthy. It’s also a great way to get involved in your local community and contribute to a great cause. There are a lot of races that are out there, so why not pick one that supports a local organization that you can relate to?
On Saturday, October 22, there is a 5K called the Rescue Me 5K Run/1Mile Walk Event. The run will benefit Freedom Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that rescues abandoned, neglected and abused animals and provides care for them. Freedom Farm is a safe organization for dogs and cats who need to be cared for. The animals are placed in foster homes, where they are given love and attention so they can find their forever homes.
Every Saturday, the dogs that are fostered can be adopted at PetSmart in Rivergate, and the cats are available to be adopted every day. This is a great way to prevent the unnecessary euthanasia of animals. The animals receive proper care from their foster families, and stay there until they are adopted. The goal, through fundraising events like this, is to eventually buy land to build a sanctuary and adoption center of their own.
Navigating the course
The Rescue Me 5K is held on the Hendersonville Greenway, starting at the Hendersonville Library. This course is relatively flat until you reach the half way point. At this juncture, you will encounter two hills – they may be a challenge for the beginning runner, but they can be overcome! I remember running my first race over these hills… I ended up walking up one and ran up the other one. The second time I ran a race in the same place, I ran up both hills and I was so excited. I had practiced hard, making sure I could accomplish it the second time around!
Anyone can walk up the hills, whether you are running or walking, just take the hills slower. Pacing yourself is the key to getting up the hills with enough energy to finish the course. As the saying goes, what goes up, must come down, and you get to go down the hills on your way back to the finish line! The Greenway is a great place to hold a race. It is out of the way of traffic and there is plenty of shade, mixed in with a patches of abundant sunshine. Make sure to watch the weather though -you never know if it will be a freezing cold day, or if we will have a brutally hot fall day.
Another great thing about this 5K is that it is pet friendly! Bring your furry friend with you to walk or run with, and they will even get a treat in your swag bag when you pick up your racing bib. What better way to show your pet you love them, then to bring them with you for this great 5K?
5K’s are not just for professional runners or athletes. It is a great opportunity for anyone, and I mean anyone, to get outside and get healthy! A 5K is 3.1 miles, definitely a distance that a lot of people can build up to whether they are running or walking. If you decide that you would like to run the 5K, I recommend following a program, such as Couch to 5K, to build up your endurance so that you can run the full 3.1 miles! It is a nine-week training program that will increase your distance of running from a small distance, to the full 5K.
If you don’t want to run, don’t have the time to run, or just decide that walking is for you, then you also can have a great time walking the 5K. There is nothing wrong with getting outside, enjoying the sunshine, and going for a 3.1 mile walk. Still, I recommend training for the 5K even if you are just walking. This distance can seem overwhelming to someone at first, but no reason to be overwhelmed. Just start a little at a time, walk for 15-20 minutes a day and build by an additional 2-3 minutes each day. Soon enough, you can be covering the full distance!
If you love animals – and who doesn’t – then this is a fantastic 5K for you to run or walk. Not only are you out there getting healthy, but you are donating to a fantastic cause. By walking or running this race, you are allowing current and future dogs and cats, to receive proper treatment and find their forever home.