Here’s Why Running A Local 5k Is The Best Race To Run

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Running a local 5k has many benefits like knowing the roads and getting support from neighbors. Here’s Why Running A Local 5k Is The Best Race To Run

Gathered at the starting line is the friendly faces of friends and family. The runner might notice that a local business owner or the waitress at the best donut shop in town. The local gym leads the pre-race warm up to help loosen everyone up. There are no nerves in the air because everyone feels at home. The gun goes off and runners whip around their neighborhood, passing neighbors’ houses and maybe that hill that doesn’t seem so bad when in the car. The roads are familiar, but all the sights are taken in during the run as if it were for the first time. Crossing the finish line feels so great when representing the hometown. This is what it’s like to run a local 5k. It just simply is the best.

Running 5k races are among the most popular distance races. According to the statistic source Statista, 17,000 5ks were held in the U.S. in 2016. It’s the perfect distance for both beginners and seasoned runners. Beginners can set a 5k race as a major goal to reach towards when starting their fitness journey. It’s a great event to get into running, with many starting with a couch to 5k plan or taking a walk/run approach. Seasoned runners sim for their PR, placing in age groups and getting faster to master the distance.

The 3.1 distance is short enough when racing to really push the pace, while still being a good workout without depleting the runner as a marathon can do.

There are more competitive 5ks, fun run with costumes and cool swag and all kinds of themes. But running a local 5k is truly the best kind of 5k to run. Here’s why.

Giving Back To The Community

Most races have some sort of charity aspect behind it. With all or partial proceeds going to that worthy charity, local races tend to give back to the community cause. It’s a great way to support the town we live in or near, especially since many small businesses sponsor or find a way to take part in the event—either by providing bagels and coffee or set up a post-race table.

If we can travel both near and far for races, then participating in a 5k in our hometown is an absolute must.

Photo: Lauren Keating

Runners Know The Course

There are quite a few advantages to running a local 5k. Chances are the runner knows the course, or at least the neighborhood well enough to know what the roads or local park are like. Living close to the race means the ability to run this neighborhood and get a feel of what to expect. This is most beneficial when the route has hills so the runner knows when they are approaching and can train accordingly.

Even though the runner passes the same roads all the time, running in the 5k is a great way to experience the hometown in a different way.

Lots Of Crowd Support

Because the race is close to home expect there to be lots of neighbors watching from their front porch or driveway cheering on runners. This means more cowbells, more signs and more rooting. And it’s more meaningful since three is a good chance the runner knows some of these people. It also means their own family will probably come to show support.

There are even more spectators at the starting line, along with the route and there to help the runner celebrate when it’s over. And any runner knows crowd support is everything when racing.

Photo: Lauren Keating

Proximity Matters

One of the greatest perks to running a local 5k is that the runner doesn’t need to wake up at an ungodly hour to get to the race start. They probably pick up their bib the night before since it is convenient, whereas races that are a drive away means the runner probably ops for race day pickup to avoid traveling to the same town twice in two days. This means getting to sleep in just a bit more or having that time for pre-race breakfast.

Along with a short ride to the venue, getting home is much faster afterward to be able to enjoy the rest of the weekend celebrating the victory.

A Chance To Place

Running a 5k isn’t as much about “winning” the race because we are all winners by crossing the finish line. But some local events might be smaller in scale, which means a greater chance for runners who always are a few runners off from reaching the podium to finally place for the age group. This just makes finishing feel that much sweeter.

Photo: Lauren Keating

A Way To Train

Running a local race might fit better into a runner’s schedule that is currently training for a larger race. They might not have every weekend available to run 5ks since it typically calls for long runs when training for a marathon or half marathon. But the local race is close enough to home to squeeze it or even be the start of a long run.


Running a local 5k race is the best race to compete in because it is sometimes done with more co-workers, friends, and family. It is located a short distance from the runner’s residence, making travel on the race morning a non-issue. It is full of support from those in the community while being a chance to give back to that community in the best way we know how to.