We are fortunate to live in an area rich in resources for those of us interested in endurance sports. One such resource is a plethora of local running stores. And one way these stores differentiate themselves from all the online retailers is by hosting events designed to lure in runners. Kimberly and I had so much fun at Fleet Feet in Raleigh in March that we signed up for the Heat of the Night Fun Run at Bull City Running in July. When Kimberly’s plans changed and took her out of town, I decided to go anyway. We ran 2 miles out on the ATT north of Southpoint Mall and back. You could be timed if you wanted to. I ran 10 trail miles that morning so opted for no time but ran well considering I was pretty tied and the humidity. I guess the promise of the finishers Locopop was enough motivation!
Let me tell you why these free fun runs are great:
- They have to be! The whole point is to get people into their store so they buy stuff – now or in the future. If the event is terrible, it really hurts their cause. Stores often run specials for event participants so it’s a great chance to grab some new shoes or apparel at 20% or so off. I almost splurged on a pair of metallic Oofoos but decided spending $60 for a pair of ugly flip flops wasn’t the best use of my discretionary budget. I’m kicking myself now. Next time!
- Small stores, big sponsors. Many of these events are sponsored by big shoe companies who also want you to buy their stuff. This run was sponsored by Saucony, so participants had the opportunity to demo their shoes before, during, and after the run.
- The post event snacks. Thanks to Saucony, we enjoyed Locopops post run. There was also watermelon, bananas, and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t eat because I wasn’t hungry. I did however, partake In quite a bit of the Nuun.
- The giveaways. There were maybe 70 participants at this run, so I figured my chances of winning a raffle item would be high so I stuck around. The gave away several pairs of Goodrs, trucker hats, socks, Nuun, 2 pairs of Saucony shoes, and Aftershokx headphones. Unfortunately I won none of it but I am sure my number would have been called had I left.
- It’s a good way to mix it up! You’ll explore a new place to run and meet new people. I didn’t do great at meeting new people at this event but I didn’t try at all either. I did, however enjoy running on a new stretch of the ATT.
Most of these running stores post their events on social media, so be sure to follow them to keep up with all the fun runs! I recommend Bull City Running, Runologie, and Fleet Feet Morrisville for starters.