Ready, Set, Go!

It takes a lot of energy to run a 5K.

When her best friend Brianna signed them up for the Run to the Rescue 5K, she protested with every ounce of her being. Knowing that the proceeds would help the local Humane Society feed, groom and nurture dogs waiting to be adopted was the only reason she agreed to participate.

Summer Concerts

She trained for three months, and it wasn’t easy. But every other morning she’d wake up before the sun had even crested over the horizon, put on her Dri-Fit running clothes, lace up her shoes, pop in her ear buds and head out the door.

From the rubber soles of her shoes that cushioned her run and the synthetic fibers in her clothes that wicked away the sweat, to the new smartwatch that tracked her pace and heartrate, she could hit the pavement with confidence – in significant ways thanks to natural gas and oil.

Brianna caught a nasty case of strep throat two days before the race. Even though she’d be flying solo, she wasn’t going to flush three months of training. She’d also posted about the race all over Facebook. Nothing like the accountability of your 1,200 closest friends to keep you going.

From the laces to the rubber soles, nearly $20 billion in athletic shoe sales were made possible with the help of petroleum.

It takes a lot of energy to fuel a marathon – just ask the more than 500,000 people who finished one last year.

64% of runners use a smartwatch – made with help from natural gas and oil – while they run, according to 2016 stats.

She woke up bright and early that Saturday and hurried down to the park. After signing in and getting her number – which may have been the most exciting part – she sat on a curb and listed to a carefully crafted pre-run playlist.

It was time. She stood in a sea of runners and checked to make sure her race number was securely pinned to the front of her shirt. Seriously, the number was so cool.

A tall, slender man walked out a few yards away and turned to face the crowd. He yelled, “Is everyone ready?” As he raised the starter pistol above his head, she shook any nerves out of her arms.

“On your mark. Get set …” POP!

A puff of smoke from the gun floated over the crowd, and the pack of runners slowly got in motion. She wasn’t the fastest runner by any means, but that didn’t matter. Not had she completed training for a 5K, she was running a 5K – by herself!

The herd of runners followed the path marked by plastic pennant flags around the park, swerving around tall trees and park benches. Though it felt longer, she checked her pace about every three minutes, to make sure she was keeping to her race plan. So far, so good.

Every mile she smiled at the cheering squads manning the water tables, grabbed a plastic cup of water off a long fold-out table and chugged what she could. Maybe it wasn’t the Boston Marathon, but it was a huge personal accomplishment, and she was going to soak it up.

After 30 minutes she could hear a lot of noise and cowbells. She hoped that meant the finish line was awaiting her arrival. Knowing it was almost over, she mustered up her version of a sprint and crossed the finish line.

She did it!

She couldn’t linger long as other runners were coming in behind her, so she followed the moving crowd to a parade of polyethylene fold-out tables that were covered in bottles of water, bananas and granola bars. She picked up one of each, replenishing her tired muscles.

As she continued down the path, chewing on her granola bar, she saw a familiar face. Brianna had pulled her sick self out of bed to give her friend a brief, but well-deserved hug. As they stood off to the side a lady with a clip board came up and asked, “Do you guys want to sign Up for the 10th Annual Runners for Readers 10K? All proceeds support local libraries.”

They looked at each other and blurted out together, “Where do we sign up?”

Natural gas and oil: Powering the moments that matter.