After a winter of bitter winds, brutal cold and overall blahs, something about the spring air makes us want to step outside and stretch our legs.
And if you share the mindset that the only thing better than getting some exercise for its own sake is doing it for a good cause, the OKC metro is just the place for you: from world-class long-range competition to shorter, more whimsical jaunts, the coming month is laden with events to benefit others and get your blood pumping.
The Skinny: Saturday-Sunday, April 5-6
Waterford Complex, NW 63rd St and Penn Ave, redbud.org
The Beneficiary: The Anna’s House Foundation, a nonprofit agency dedicated to providing immediate, stable and loving homes for Oklahoma County’s youngest children in state custody. That’s accomplished through a personally connected network of support for families caring for children in foster care and resources for the unique needs those children share.
The Details: The 32nd annual version of the event that aims to combine “fitness, fun and philanthropy” offers options aplenty for potential competitors: 5k and 10k runs, a 5k wheelchair race, cycling tours of 10, 33 and 50 miles and even a non-competitive 2-mile walk-slash-baby stroller derby and a 1-mile run just for kids. The atmosphere is one of communal conviviality however close the competition gets, and the two-day slate of events normally draws around 6,500 entrants – not counting the 800 or so kids participating in their own free run.
2 Minute 5K
The Skinny: Saturday, April 12
Stars and Stripes Park, Lake Hefner, 951.3333, ywcaokc.org
The Beneficiary: The YWCA of Oklahoma City, the central Oklahoma chapter of the worldwide organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and providing help and hope to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The Details: Two minutes isn’t the time limit for the race (you don’t have to be The Flash to have a shot at finishing) – it’s the interval between sexual assaults across the United States. Funds raised through pledges and participation in this adult 5k and the accompanying Kiddie K will help bolster local victim assistance programs and strengthen the YWCA’s efforts to reduce the occurrence of these atrocities … as fast as they can.
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
The Skinny: Sunday, April 27
Downtown OKC, NW 5th St & Harvey Ave, okcmarathon.com
The Beneficiary: The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum – which is private and non-profit, and receives no government funds for operation, so this event and the more than five million dollars it has raised for the museum to date remain instrumental in maintaining this symbol of hope and resilience. Recovery after the 1995 bombing was a marathon in its own right, and today’s runners and donors are the driving force in making sure this story is told forever.
The Details: It’s known as the “Run to Remember,” a name that applies both to the tragic loss of life from the Oklahoma City bombing and the positive experience associated with participation in the race itself. Runner’s World has called it one of the 12 “must-run” marathons anywhere, and 25,000 racers from every state and countries all over the world – buoyed by an incredible outpouring of support from the Oklahoma City community – compete in a full or half marathon, relay, 5k or kids’ marathon to remember those lost and celebrate the triumph of the human spirit.
Walk MS Oklahoma City
The Skinny: Saturday, May 3
Wild Horse Park, 1201 N Mustang Rd 488.1300, nationalmssociety.org/Chapters/OKE
The Beneficiary: The Oklahoma chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, dedicated to mobilizing support on behalf of those affected by the disease that keeps people from moving – including education, advocacy, assistance programs and ongoing research to continue the search for a cure.
The Details: It’s not really a race per se, and a more accurate name would be Walk MS OKC Metro, as this year’s event ventures a bit outside the capital city itself into the beauty of Mustang. First and foremost a fundraiser in which individuals or teams set goals and collect donations and pledges, there’s still plenty of room for enjoyment at the event itself. Don’t forget to visit the vendor expo.
The Skinny: Saturday, May 17
Midtown OKC, 20 NW 9th St., 236.0452, okchungryman.com
The Beneficiary: The nonprofit Neighborhood Services Organization, which provides housing and health services to homeless and low-income OKC citizens. Last year the NSO supplied rental assistance, reduced-cost dental care and transitional housing for over 72,000 people.
The Details: This 4-person 10k relay comes with a heck of a hook: before taking off on his or her mile-and-a-bit race through the streets of downtown OKC, each entrant must chow down on a sample of tastiness from local restaurants. In everyday life it’s rude to eat and run; here it’s the only way to win. If you’re honestly not that peckish, there’s also a 5k this year that doesn’t require eating anything. You should still probably wear a costume, though. Because why not?