Gotta Run: Lots of local people feel the need — but why?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 1, 2016

Today is the Buck Hurley Triathlon at the JF Hurley YMCA. It is a wonderful event and will include both seasoned and first-time triathletes. Look for cyclists and runners around the Y until about 10 a.m.

Friday evening, May 6, is the popular TWAM 5K at First Presbyterian Church. As I have mentioned before, I think this is the fastest 5K course in town and the conditions have been perfect in the past for setting your new personal best. Walkers are welcome and the fun run for kids, 12 and under, precedes the 5K.

The Bare Bones 5K, benefitting Relay for Life, is set for May 28 at Knox Middle School. Bare Bones has a unique history, originally started when a local race was cancelled at the last minute. The Salisbury Rowan Runners stepped in and saved the event as a way of saying thanks to local runners. It still is a fantastic event, perfect for runners and walkers of all levels.

Look for more information on these races at

Long ago, I found out that there are many reasons to run. I thought it might be interesting to share some of those reasons in the column. The following are thoughts on the subject from plenty of your friends and neighbors.

Scott Weant of Cloninger Ford said, “It is my stress relief and allows me to do more than ever before. Running allows me to strengthen my heart from endocarditis in my past. It allows me to spend time with my son and my dad.”

Realtor Mechelle Kuld said, “I started running because I wanted to ‘like’ running, but it didn’t work out just that way. The longer I have run, the more I have enjoyed it. Now it is all about the feeling that I have after finishing. I feel refreshed and able to tackle the world. It is slowly becoming addictive, and I feel guilty on the days that I don’t run. With heart disease prevalent in my family, running is a great way to be heart healthy.”

Power Curbers’ Steve Bullock took a different approach. “I run because I really like ice cream. I really, really like ice cream! And I love the feeling of dripping with sweat after a hard run on a warm and sticky day.”

“I run to spend time with my husband and friends. I run to spend time outdoors and in prayer. I run for mental, emotional and physical health. I run because it prepares me for the next challenge,” said Jennifer Board, of Catawba College.

Rowan Salisbury School System physical education teacher extraordinaire Sara Phillips said, “I became a runner when I joined the Army. For me, running became not only physical but psychological and spiritual. There is nothing more humbling than running on a beach and feeling God’s grace as the sun rises over the ocean. There is also nothing better to relieve all the stress of the day than a nice long run that releases all the happy vibes. Through running, I have made life-long friendships, gotten over heartbreak, inspired others to begin something they never thought they could and made up most of my grocery lists.”

Rowan County’s Ellis Park Supervisor Craig Farmer credits running with a dramatic change in his life. He said, “Running has fueled a competitive edge that I haven’t had in 30 years, since high school. But it is much more than that. Running is not only fun and healthy, but it is great stress relief. I have lost 30 pounds in eight months, and am more alert and focused than I have been in those 30 years. I just feel great!”

Fire Marshall Terry Smith agreed. “I run for my health. Both physically and mentally. Also, there is a great sense of accomplishment when I cross the finish line, no matter what pace I have run.”

Relay for Life Chairperson Tisha Goodwin added simply, “When I run, it gives me time to talk to God without distractions. He is a good listener.”

Accountant Wanda Parks said, “I love being outside, and running is great exercise. I like encouraging new runners and welcome the friendships that are easily formed with other runners.”

Freelance writer Susan Shinn summed up a lot of good reasons to run. “I run to try to lose weight. I run to be like my mother. I run from middle age. I run because punching people in the face is frowned upon. I run to clear my head. I run because I can.”

I can’t disagree with a single thing that these runners have mentioned. I will add just a few things. Those who participate in running/walking events help out all the charities that host runners in their 5Ks. There is a wonderful feeling when the runner gets a double barreled feeling of accomplishment by helping the charity and challenging themselves, too.

Most of my own runs are done very early in the morning, and nothing gets the day off to a better start. I end that run feeling physically and mentally charged up and confident that I can take on the day, no matter what it might hold. What seemed like a problem soon became much less so. An early morning run allows me to be part of the world’s awakening, better if it is totally dark when I start and able to watch as at least some light in the eastern part of the sky signals the beginning of a new day.

See you soon on the roads!

David Freeze is a nationally certified running coach and president of the Salisbury Rowan Runners. Contact him at Learn more at