Over the course of this column I’ve probably written about the benefits of early-morning running at least a dozen times.
There’s something that’s always appealed to me about getting a head start on the day with the rising sun while the rest of the world hits the snooze button.
But as the years have gone by, I find myself more and more looking forward to running at a different time of day: The evening.
Whether you’re outside working in the sun or sitting in a chair at the office for several hours on end, you’re going to be bringing some aches and pains home, along with a certain degree of stress.
The evening provides a good opportunity to “unwind” in every sense of the word. It’s a chance to stretch your legs out and work out any kinks, while also giving your mind some alone time to process the day.
After starting the kids on their bedtime routine last week, I took myself out for one of these after-dinner jogs and the workout just kept getting better after each mile. The air is just a little bit cooler at this time of day and it’s fun to watch the locals enter the night scene as the sun is slowly replaced by the street lights. For four miles, I completely forgot about my physical and mental issues of the day, and instead relished in the joy of being alive in the world.
When I got home, I had that good tired feeling, the one you get when you go to bed knowing that you put everything you had into the day. And I certainly had no problems falling asleep that night.
I think the word “running” is usually associated with physical strain, exhaustion, and competition. While these descriptions are partially accurate, judging the sport on these associations alone can make running quite intimidating for the newcomer.
Just know that when you run, you don’t have to go full throttle if you don’t want to. Sometimes the best way to settle down after a hard day is to let ourselves be guided by adventurous legs instead of aggressive ones.
And the best part about running in the evening: It gives us the perfect justification to hit that snooze button the next day.
1 STEP BACK, 3 STEPS FORWARD
Of all the advances known to modern-day foot racing, perhaps the biggest “evolution” to the sport has been the inclusion of beer drinking and taco eating.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The Antietam Brewery served up a trio of races in Hagerstown: A beer mile and taco mile, to go along with a traditional 5K race. For those that don’t know, a beer mile is completed by chugging a beer, running a quarter-mile, and then repeating the process three more times. A taco mile would operate exactly the same.
Sixty-four runners completed the beer mile race, with Chambersburg’s Dallon Espinosa (11:43) and Craig Leisher (13:18), as well as Greencastle’s Scott Boiteau (12:01) leading the way. As for the taco mile, it was nothing that Chambersburg’s Aimee Melius (13:30) and Greencastle’s Haley Wolf (16:20) couldn’t handle.
Even with the entertaining sideshows, the Antietam Brewery 5K still proved to be the main event, with the race drawing 235 runners and some impressive times. Smithsburg’s Jonah Smith topped the field with a time of 16:11. He was chased by Smithsburg’s Jonathan Kisas (21:07) and Jessie Smith (21:41), as well as Fayetteville’s Patrick Gavet (23:14).
In Chambersburg, the name of the game was running girls empowerment at the Go Girls Go Spring 5K, a race which drew 273 runners. Waynesboro’s Juan Martinez conquered the race in 21:16, while other top times were provided by Chambersburg’s Archer Dice (22:39), Paige Hult (23:19), Mallory Neus (24:16), Elias Blankenship (24:52), Kendyl Kearns (25:17), and Lorie Zimmerman (25:18), as well as Fayetteville’s Isabel Clark (25:17).
The Carlisle Downtown Mile saw a handful of Franklin County runners make the trip down I-81 for competition, including Chambersburg’s Jason Kolaric (6:50), Zachary Zalewski (7:14), and Patrick Deihl (7:37), as well as Fayetteville’s Wing Lam Cheung (6:52).
In Philadelphia, the Dirty German Endurance Fest was visited by a trio runners from Franklin County. The 50 Miler featured finishes from Anthony Fisher (11:09:14) and Matthew Smith (11:31:12), while the 50K saw Greencastle’s Rachel Scheitrum cross the finish line in 7:31:50.
A number of others were active in races across the region, including Greencastle’s Heidi Hade (30:44 at Great Cape May Footrace 5K), Fayetteville’s Timothy Nelms (1:00:39 at Saint Michaels 10K) and George Jones (2:10:02 at Cleveland Half Marathon), Chambersburg’s Michael Day (1:38:23 at Harpers Ferry Half Marathon), Brad Etchberger (2:27:04 at Saint Michaels Half Marathon), Crystal Etchberger (41:09 at Saint Michaels 5K), Craig Leisher (25:15 at Water Wheel 5K), and Matt Imwald (1:37:30 at Savage Race Maryland Race Open).
And finally a shoutout to Fayetteville’s ultra-running star Philip Samotus, who logged a fourth-place finish in 9:58:32 at the Glacier Ridge Ultra 50 Mile in Portersville.
And now, a look ahead:
Old Turnpike Half Marathon: Sunday, 8 a.m., in Waterfall. Bring your headlamp for this race, which takes you through the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, including the 1.26-mile Sideling Hill tunnel and the kilometer-long Rays Hill tunnel. Find the race on runsignup.com.
Memorial Day Free 5K: Monday, 8 a.m., in Gettysburg. With a price you can’t beat — free — this event features paved roads and gentle hills. Register for the race on runsignup.com.
Race Against Poverty 5K: Friday, June 2, 7 p.m., in Chambersburg. This one-of-a-kind evening race helps take the community a big step forward against poverty. Learn more at raceagainstpoverty.org.
Also: Armstrong Valley Wine Run 5K (Saturday, in Halifax); Bubbletown What The Duck Ultra (Saturday, in Boiling Springs); HVTRC Run to Remember 3 Miler (Saturday, in Enola); Medal Madness Movie 5K/10K (Saturday, in Manheim); Memorial Triathlon (Saturday, in New Brighton); Mount Bethel Cemetery Memorial 5K (Saturday, in Columbia); Path of the Flood Historic Races (Saturday, in Johnstown); VA Memorial 5K (Saturday, in Lebanon); York YMCA Kids Tri (Saturday, in York); Charlie Horse Half Marathon (Sunday, in Mohnton); Linglestown Memorial Day Mile (Monday, in Linglestown); Memorial Day 5K (Monday, in Ephrata); Platinum Memorial Day 5K (Monday, in Harrisburg); York Gold Star Memorial Day 5K (Monday, in York); Bashore Bash 6H and 12H Ultra (Saturday, June 3, in Jonestown); Edinboro Triathlon (Saturday, June 3, in Edinboro); Falcon Tri/Du/Aquabike/Youth Triathlon (Saturday, June 3, in Lebanon); God’s Country Marathon (Saturday, June 3, in Coudersport); Honey Hole 13.1 (Saturday, June 3, in Drums); Medal Madness Ninja 5K/10K (Saturday, June 3, in New Cumberland); Red Rose Run 5 Miler (Saturday, June 3, in Lancaster); Slate Run 25K (Saturday, June 3, in Slate Run); Steve Fealtman Memorial Awesum Possum Lake Trail Adventure (Saturday, June 3, in Carlisle); Worlds End Ultramarathon 100K (Saturday, June 3, in Forksville); GiGiFit Acceptance Challenge 5K (Sunday, June 4, in Lancaster); Philadelphia Run Fest (Sunday, June 4, in Philadelphia); Big Run 5K (Wednesday, June 7, in Harrisburg).
Foot Notes is a self-syndicated column by Central Pa. sportswriter Andy Sandrik that has been “running” since 2016. Andy always follows back on Strava and can be reached by email at [email protected].