Last week, the Okay5K race was held in Delaware Park to benefit PreventionFocus. The mission of Preventionfocus is “to make safe and healthy happen for people from all walks of life.” Specifically, that means avoiding substance abuse and related problems, but it also means taking care of your physical and mental health. The race strived to relieve stress and focus on not only mental health, but also emotional and physical health.

For the first time since I moved to Buffalo, NY, I felt like I was “right at home,” which is mostly due to the community of runners I stumbled upon in Delaware Park last week. 

My mom rode with me as I drove an Equinox full of my Indiana belongings to Buffalo, NY, so she hung around with me for the first few days after I moved to town. I asked my mom to help me find a running group, because I don’t know anyone in town, but that proved difficult -- until my mom and I saw a large pack of runners heading towards Delaware Park. Naturally, I thought, “Let’s chase these runners and find out when they meet up every week.”

My mom and I parked the car, and we sprinted after these runners who were becoming ant-sized in the distance. We didn’t want to give up our chase, but we stopped running -- only after we saw three white tents designated for a 5K race for Preventionfocus.

At this point, my legs were in no shape to run a 5K, but I wanted to meet some runners and I felt motivated by the 5K cause -- so I signed up to run a 5K race about fifteen minutes before the race started (and shortly after consuming an ice cream cone and a large coke slurpee, too), but I guess my mom and I ran alright, considering that we both managed to snag first place in our age group.

At the end of the race, I met a runner named Ann, and she found out I was new to the area and looking for a way to meet new people while staying physically fit. She told me about a website where you can do just that: I know I’ll be exploring Western New York on foot, and maybe you’ll join me sometime.


And if you ever get discouraged on your running journey, remember that in the race of life, the tortoise beats the hare every time.

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