Reagan Run 5K: Want to run the race? You’ll be glad you did

There’s still time to sign up for the annual run July 6

Reagan Run 5K logo

Editor’s note: The Reagan Run 5K will be July 6 in Dixon. Leading up to that event, we are publishing columns from the Reagan Run 5K Committee. Today’s column was written by Ray Schmidt, a local runner and supporter of the Reagan Run.

I wasn’t a runner before my first Reagan Run in the summer of 2002 at the age of 45. My motivation was to get into shape for a Boy Scout adventure with my son.

The year 2002 started as preparation for Troop 93′s Philmont trip to New Mexico, and I was going with my son on this high adventure. I didn’t want to be the weak link in the group, so I started walking every other night after work to get into shape. The walks approached the 2-mile mark and were getting easier. So I started running short distances within my walk. As time passed, I was running 2 miles and felt I was becoming well prepared for the hiking adventure.

News of the Reagan Run in July was traveling around town, and in the back of my mind, the question was there: “Could I run that far?”

I woke up that July morning of race day and was talking to my son before he left for work. He asked, “Dad, why are you up so early today?”

I said, “I’m going to run the Reagan Run this morning.”

“Cool,” was his response.

Then the question came from him: “Have you ever run that far before?”

I replied, “No, but I’m going to run a 5K today.”

I showed up that day and registered for the race. I met up with a lot of guys I knew. They all had the same comment – “I didn’t know you ran.”

I answered, “Neither did I.”

I think I finished in just over 25 minutes, and my first 5K was behind me. The running bug had bit me.

[2024 Reagan Run 5K preview capsule; how to register]

I remember my best time running the Reagan 5K. Jim gave me my time and said, “Not bad for a Clydesdale!” I think I finished in 23:41 as my personal best. All you runners understand that statement.

In 2022, I finished third in my age group, (thanks to Joe running with his grandkids that year – I know he is a faster runner than me).

The course has its challenges, from street hills to trail running. I always looked forward to Larry ringing the bell and cheering us on midway through the course before getting into the trail part of the race.

Next, you will experience “Stride Breaker Hill” in the woods and learn the meaning of “digging in” – going uphill with someone at the top cheering your accomplishment. Watch out for the young ones going uphill. They like to stop in front of you. When you turn that last corner coming out of the alley onto Highland Avenue, kick it in high gear and finish strong. You will be glad you did!

I have run about every week since that day. Some days the miles were more than others. My long runs and the idea of another marathon are long gone. I will run as long as I can because the Reagan 5K is a part of me. Many thanks to my mentors, Bill, Diana, Angela, Nancy, Chuck, Pat, Jim, Jeff and all who volunteer. I hope, too, that I will be a mentor for my grandkids and all the young runners out there.

See you at the starting line!

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