Now that the weather has warmed (hopefully for good) and the days have gotten sunnier and longer, I've noticed an increase in the number of walkers and joggers rushing past my front window. Whether you are a longtime or novice runner or walker, this spring in Springfield offers plenty of shorter-distance race opportunities to test your tennis shoes. There are even opportunities for cyclists and families looking to join in the fun. Check out the following one-mile, 5K, 8K and 10K races being offered in the area.
Spring Break 5K/10K, Springfield
Saturday, March 25, 9 a.m.
The Spring Break Run offers a fast out-and-back run from Engrained Brewery on the first Saturday following the Spring Equinox. All runners receive a T-shirt, finisher's medal and a $5 voucher for food and drinks at Engrained Brewery.
Healthy Kids Running Series, various locations
Between April 16 and May 14
The Healthy Kids Running Series is a five-week running program for kids ages Pre-K through 8th grade. Each HKRS Series takes place once a week and offers age-appropriate running events including the 50- and 75-yard dashes, the quarter-mile, the half-mile and the one-mile run. Kids compete each week for a chance to earn points. At the end of the series, the boys and girls who accumulate the most points in their respective distances are awarded trophies. All participants receive a medal in week five.
Run for the Rose, Petersburg
Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m.
The eighth annual Run for the Rose will take place in the beautiful Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site. Run or walk, the race will begin and end at West of Wise Winery, which has award-winning wines from grapes grown in their family vineyard. The race will include roads and trails next to the Sangamon River. If wine isn't your thing, the winery also offers beer from great area breweries.
Rock Springs Ramble, Decatur
Saturday, May 20
Support local natural areas and wildlife at the Rock Springs Ramble, featuring a 5K Run/Walk, a one-mile Run/Walk, the Rock Springs Ramble Challenge and a quarter-mile Kids' Fun Run. This fundraiser supports the Macon County Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps fund natural area restoration and educational programs at the Macon County Conservation District and its Rock Springs Nature Center.
Capital City Biathlon, New Berlin
Saturday, May 27, 8 a.m.
This event, hosted at Danenberger Family Vineyards, features three choices: a 5K run, a biathlon 5K run paired with a 15-mile bike ride, or a team biathlon. Team athletes have the option to split the biathlon and race as a team – one person can run the 5K while the other completes the bike ride.
Lincoln Memorial Garden Trail Race 8K and Kids' Fun Run
Saturday, June 3, 7:30 a.m.
This trail run is a bit longer than a 5K and features eight kilometers (or 4.97 miles) of trails within Lincoln Memorial Garden. This run will test runners' stamina over the scenic trails and pathways next to Lake Springfield and throughout the Ostermeier Prairie Center grounds. Additionally, kids can enjoy a Kids' Fun Run around the pond at the Cawley Meadow at 9 a.m.
Abe's Army Running Program, various locations
May 22-Aug. 20
After you've done all of this spring running, you may find yourself wondering: What now? You may even be ready for an additional challenge. If this is the case, consider joining the Springfield Road Runners Club's Abe's Army Running Program, which is a 12-week training program to get runners and walkers of all abilities to their best finish at the Abe's Amble 5k/10k in August.
Pamela Savage is a freelance writer and runner/walker in Springfield. She hopes to see you at some races this spring.