This is a great time of year for beginning runners mapping out their first competitive (or non-competitive) group events. With cooler weather here, events are competing heavily for weekend slots. If you can't find one to run in, you aren't looking very hard.
Here are some of the local races on the schedule:
Saturday, Oct. 26, is the Shed Light on Trafficking 5K and Family Challenge, planned at Blanchard Woods Park. The race is to raise funds to fight human trafficking. Added bonus: Amy Copeland, who last year was treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center for infections that caused her to lose several limbs, will return to our area to participate in the event.
Sign up at http://shedlight.me
Also on Oct. 26 is the 36th annual Broad Street Ramble 10K in downtown Augusta. Registration ends Oct. 24.
Find the signup at www.augustastriders.com.
The Harlem Hustle 5K, a fundraiser and Harlem fall festival benefitting the Harlem High School Lady Bulldogs basketball team, will be held at 8 a.m. Nov. 2. It's too late to get a T-shirt with your registration, but there's still plenty of time to sign up. A chili cookoff will be part of the follow-up festivities.
To register, find them on Facebook or on www.active.com.
Also on Nov. 2, the second annual Haulin' for Haiti 5K, sponsored by Vineyard Church, will be held at 8 a.m. Sign up before Oct. 20 to get at T-shirt by finding the event on www.active.com.
A pair of runs also will be held on Nov. 9, starting with the Randy's Run 5K at 8 a.m. at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Registration, which closes Nov. 3, is available at www.active.com.
The second run of the day also will be the area's second run in which participants are doused with powdered dye during the event. The Run or Dye Augusta will be held Nov. 9 starting at 601 7th St.
Sign up at www.runordye.com/locations/Augusta-2013
Another couple of events are set for Nov. 16, starting with the Great Pumpkin Chase at 9 a.m. at Lake Olmstead. Find registration at www.kidsrestart.org.
Later that day, at 5 p.m., is the Great Santa Chase at Lights of the South, 633 Louisville Road in Grovetown.
This race is unique in that it's a nighttime event, and allows participants to be the first of the year to see the Christmas attraction as they run a 5K or 1-mile fun run through the park. The event is a fundraiser for the Christmas House at Fort Gordon, and last year raised more than $4,000.
To sign up before Nov. 10, go to www.lightsofthesouth.com.
Last on my current list, but certainly not least, is the Jingle Jam 10K. This exceptionally fun event, a fundraiser for Safe Homes of Augusta. The race will be held at Evans Towne Center Park at 8 a.m. Dec. 7, with a really cool packet pickup event Friday, Dec. 6, at Stevens Creek Church.
To register, go to www.jinglejam10k.com.
Incidentally, my recent absence from blog updates is due to my discouragement at being unable to run because of a herniated disc in my neck. I've got treatments coming up that should take care of the problem, but until then I'm sidelined. I'm signed up for the Harlem Hustle (with bib No. 1! Go Dogs!) and for the Jingle Jam, but I'm uncertain as to whether I'll be able to do much more than show up and cheer for the other participants.
Whatever the case, I plan to get back into training as soon as I'm able. I need the endorphins!
And, as always, if you have an event you'd like me to help promote, email me at email@example.com.
(Barry L. Paschal retired from the media in June after 30 years in the Augusta area, most recently as publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. He now serves as senior director of marketing and communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA: www.goodwillworks.org.)