RUNGRL Asks: "How Was Your First 5K?"


By Na’Tasha Jones


The first race never goes how you might expect. From overcoming the initial fears to performing way better than you’d hoped, it’s always a surprise to run your first race. Five women share what it was like to run their first “real” 5K with us. (Hint: They all lived to run again!)

Photo via Christina’s Instagram  (   @Christina_jdmba   )

Photo via Christina’s Instagram (@Christina_jdmba)

Christina Reid, 28

Charlotte, NC

First 5K race: Charlotte Marathon 5K (2017)

“Running surprised me. I started running by accident. In November 2017, my coworkers were running a 5K and convinced me to join them. Up to that point, the farthest I had run was 2.5-ish miles, and I didn’t train at all. So, my game plan was to run 2.5 miles and walk the rest. Basically, my plan was, “don’t die”.

Plot twist: I ended up running the entire 5K. I’m not sure if it was the peer pressure, the adrenaline, or the dope music playlist I was listening to, but something inside of me just said, “Keep going Christina, you can do this”. So, I kept going and pushed to the finish line.

Fast forward to 2018, I’m a Charlotte Marathon ambassador, training for my third half marathon. If you would have told me any of this a year ago, I would have belly laughed at you (hysterically, while pointing). I never believed I was capable of running until last year. Fear is only temporary, but regret lasts a lifetime. Now, my only regret is that I didn’t start sooner.”

Photo via Lizz’ Instagram  (   @liv3lov3lizz   )

Photo via Lizz’ Instagram (@liv3lov3lizz)

Lizz Rene, 27

Capitol Heights, MD

First 5K race: National Press Club Beat the Deadline 5K (2014)

“I trained for my first 5K with an app--the Couch 2 5K app (C25K), to be specific. Thankfully, I also had a coworker who was into fitness and who supported me with tips and accountability runs throughout my training. I was never an athlete in high school or college, so this was a personal fitness goal I wanted to achieve. I didn’t race for time, I simply raced to finish. Making it to the end felt great and I couldn’t wait to do it again and push myself to go even farther.”

Photo via Michelle’s Instagram  (   @Charia212   )

Photo via Michelle’s Instagram (@Charia212)

Michelle Dunwoody, 49

Jacksonville, FL

First 5K race: Thanksgiving Distance Classic Jacksonville (2018)

“My first 5K was running with a friend whose birthday it was at the time. She wanted a few friends to run with her (she ran the 10k). Once our friend explained that a 5K wasn't actually 5 miles, whew! We were very relieved. I started training a few months prior by doing a 3-mile walk/run three times per week. I was a bundle of nerves on race day but,  as I ran, I kept saying to myself, "Michelle, don't stop running!" I ran the entire 3.1 miles in 45 minutes--a big deal for me!

One lesson I learned the hard way is to buy running shoes a half size bigger. I have run another 5K since that one now. I love running and want to increase my speed, but I also know I must crawl before I walk.”   

Photo courtesy of Tai Canaday  (   @tai_lanell23   )

Photo courtesy of Tai Canaday (@tai_lanell23)

Tai Canady, 28

Capitol Heights, MD
First 5K race: Arkansas High School XC 5K (2007)

“My first 5K was quite interesting. I'd never ran a distance longer than one mile when I discovered that my high school had a Cross Country team. I asked if I could join and, suddenly, there I was running at the next meet without a CLUE of what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know the race distance, I just knew I wanted to participate in any sport that involved running. I even started sprinting when I neared the row of flags, thinking that they signified the finish line, only to realize I actually had another mile to go. In the end, I was surprised to finish the 3.1 miles at 11th place (1st on my team) out of 300 runners!”

LaShaun Chappell, 45

Photo via LaShaun’s Instagram ( @distancerunnersdoitlonger )

Photo via LaShaun’s Instagram (@distancerunnersdoitlonger)

San Antonio, TX

My first 5K: Navy Freedom 5K, Corpus Christi

“I trained prior the race but ended up getting sick the day before the race. There was even a light rain on race day. Despite feeling horrible, it went very well. I even placed 3rd in my age group! I always thought running was too hard for me, so I never really tried. But I learned that preparation is key! With training, any distance is possible. Now I'm running 50K (an ultra marathon)!”

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Are you interested in running your first 5K and don’t know where to begin? RUNGRL has you covered.

Check out our just-launched 5K Hustle Beginner Training Plan and get started on your new running journey with RUNGRL today. Learn more.

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Na’Tasha Jones

Co-founder and Chief Content Officer