Colorectal cancer touches the lives of countless people each year. Maybe you’ve been personally affected, or perhaps you have a family member or friend with the disease.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and what better time to get movin’ than to join a 5K charity race. All across the U.S. you will find races hosted by national and local charities with the aim to support colon cancer patients and survivors, raise funds for screening, research, and awareness projects, and provide funds to fight and treat the disease. Your participation not only benefits these charitable organizations, but it will also enhance your own physical fitness.
Running and walking both offer significant health benefits from the physical to the mental and emotional. Both forms of exercise have been shown to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers, heart disease, and diabetes, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, and release endorphins to improve mood and alleviate stress. While running does burn more calories and work the cardiovascular system more than walking, both strengthen the body and improve overall health. A win-win!
Whether you choose to walk or run, here are some tips to finding and getting involved in a 5K race near you.
- Find a 5K race. National and local charities host annual 5K runs. Do a quick Google search or use Active.com, and type in “5K” and “colon cancer” in the search engine to find a race near you. Here are a few of the more popular 5K races in the U.S.:
- Colon Cancer Coalition hosts numerous Get Your Rear in Gear races across the country.
- Colon Cancer Alliance also has the Undy Run/Walk race throughout the U.S.
- The Scope It Out 5K Run/Walk for colon cancer awareness takes place in Washington, D.C.
- No Buts About It 5K Run/Walk in Dayton, Ohio
- Get a partner or organize a team. Find like-minded individuals to commit to running or walking with you and sign up.
- Start training. If you want to run but have never run a 5K before, I highly recommend the Couch to 5K running program. You run 3 days a week for 20-30 minutes, and in 9 weeks, you’re ready to run 3.1 miles at a decent pace. If you plan to walk, you will still want to be physically fit to walk the entire distance. Set aside time each week to exercise, so you are able to finish the race.
- Get out there on race day, and do your best!
Even if you don’t win first place, your participation will impact lives, including your own. Remember the real reason why you’re running: to give back to your community and help spread awareness about colorectal cancer. Get your body movin’ and find a 5K race today!