RALEIGH — As Washington and New York thawed out following a heavy blizzard, more than 500 people showed up on a picturesque Sunday afternoon for the Run for the Roses 5K at Dorothea Dix Park.
I cant tell you the last time I ran in shorts in February, but I love it, said Seth Long, a Raleigh resident who recently moved from Iowa.
The sunny weather provided Long a chance to ease back into distance running after a short winter break. Running season typically lasts from March to November. Runners usually take this time to run in smaller events while training for triathlons and marathons.
Thats one of the goals of the Second Empire Grand Prix series, 10 races that began with last weeks Run for the Young 5K. Sponsored by the Second Empire restaurant and the Capital Fitness event management company, the series culminates in the RunRaleigh Half Marathon in April.
The races, mostly 5K events, are also good for newbies who want to train for marathons and half-marathons, said Brad Boyles, president of N.C. Roadrunners Club.
Its a good place to start if youre training for a half-marathon, or youve got a New Years resolution, Boyles said. If they started training in January, they should be comfortable with this distance by now.
The race, in its 33rd year, is one of the oldest in the Triangle. This year, proceeds went to Canines for Service, an organization that trains dogs from local animal shelters to assist veterans coming back from the Middle East with physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder. Other races in the series benefit the SPCA, the WakeMed Foundation, the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation and the Special Olympics.
The Run for the Roses had a Valentines Day theme; participants are allowed to register as couples and female runners are handed roses at the finish line. The theme only added to the runners sunny disposition. Most of them were just thankful to take in the warm weather and begin training for another season of distance runs.
Its a great time of year, Long said.