Fitness editorial -- part 1 -- Run a weekly 5-K

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Timm Huffman
  • 439 Airlift Wing Public Affairs
     Editor's note: This is the first in a three-part series highlighting local attractions that encourage Airmen to participate in outdoor recreation and physical activity.
     With less than a month before the Air Force's new fitness standards go into effect, most of us are in 'crunch time' trying to lose those extra pounds or take a few seconds off our run times. 
     Now that there will be two tests a year, these last-minute measures will need to become part of our everyday lives. That's why I've decided to highlight some local activities that are both inexpensive and encourage physically active lifestyles that line up with the values of being an Airman.
     If you visit the Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke on a Thursday night this summer, you are likely to be struck by the beauty of the sunset reflecting off the placid lake, the serene stands of pine trees and the approximately 100 or so runners who participate in the weekly 5-kilometer race that circumnavigates that water.
     One of the best ways to improve your run time is to practice running faster. By running a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race, you get the chance to do that, but you also get the camaraderie of being with other runners. The Holyoke Lodge of Elks Weekly 5-k Cross Country race put on by the Empire One Running Club is a great place to start.
     Running a weekly 5-K gives you the opportunity to closely track your progress. Running weekly on the relatively level lakeside loop will give you feedback on your performance and give you a clear picture of what you need to do to meet your training goals.
     "New runners will see huge gains very rapidly," said Mr. Dick Arsenault, president of the EORC. "Being part of the running scene is also good because you can get a lot of good information from other runners."
     Maybe you're feeling intimidated about getting out there among other runners or perhaps that you'll be deemed too slow to be a part of such an event? 
     If so, then you should know that running is about YOU, and people who participate in 5-ks come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. You will have those people who run like the wind, but more likely, you'll find you are in good company with people who are just out to be active and have a good time. Oh, and by the way, even those lightning bolt runners will be encouraging and happy you joined the team.
     "We try to make it more of a social event than a competitive one for new runners," said Mr. Arsenault. 
     In addition to the Thursday night run around the Ashley Reservoir, there are some other local series. The Summer Sizzlers 5-K in Springfield and the An Cu Liath City Three Mile run in Worcester are both good local choices. For more information on these and other running events, visit 
     I hope to see you out there!
Next week: Local hiking abounds. Read about one local hike that affords great views and hidden gems.