Anytime we get the chance to get out and do something a little different, we jump at the chance. That’s why this past Sunday, we took part in the Running Water 5k and 10k Challenge that began and ended on the south side of Ohio Stadium. The fun part of this race was the option runners had to carry one or two gallons of water in a special backpack (more on that later) for the duration of the race. Since we are gluttons for punishment, we opted for the two-gallon pack and set off.
The race itself was a lot of fun. From the Shoe, we headed east toward Ohio State campus. We looped back around to Ohio Stadium, then worked our way up to Woody Hayes Drive, across Olentangy River, and eventually back to the Shoe. 5k runners ended there while the 10k runners ran that a second time. The weather and energy from all of the participants couldn’t have been better, especially considering the Buckeyes just beat Rutgers 63-0 the day before.
Running with water was something new and a great way to challenge ourselves and get us out of our comfort zones. Two gallons of water translates to roughly 16 pounds, which in itself is a challenging weight to add for just over six miles, but the hardest part was the sloshing we felt with the water on our backs. For us, the race was about challenging ourselves. While running along is a great workout, the added weight and stress of the water forced use to focus on a controlled pace. The whole time, we were thinking that the pack was less than half full, and how difficult it must be to carry a full pack that could weigh up to 52 pounds. It was a lot of fun watching everyone try to figure out the best way to keep moving while carrying the water.
The race benefitted PackH2O, which is a local charity that aims to deliver these packs to water-scarce areas around the world. The award winning packs, designed and manufactured right here in central Ohio, have a very simple backpack design, but allow the user to pull out the liner and sanitize it in the sun. Often times, local communities are forced to carry water in used gas cans, and are forced to drink tainted water. As heavy as the packs could get (we walked around afterward with a full pack on), we couldn’t imagine having to drag huge gas cans full of water for miles like some people in the world have to do on a daily basis. I would urge anyone reading this to check out PackH2O to learn more about the product and how you can help donate to their cause.
When it was all said and done, roughly 60 people kicked off this inaugural race. All of the packs used in the race will be donated to help those areas where getting clean water is extremely difficult. At the end of the day, we were extremely happy and humbled to learn about PackH2O and the NGWA (National Ground Water Association), and to also support a local and worthwhile cause. We’re looking forward to helping this event grow next year!
Ryan and Kelly of Sweat Local Columbus