JOHN L. PITTS: In praise of the 10k race

By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Is there a more perfect sporting event than a 10k run? No special equipment is required – not even running shoes. You could run barefoot, but it’s not recommended.
You don’t even need legs, as we’re reminded when watching as the wheelchair division racers line up at the start. All you really need, then, is heart.
As they say about golf, a 10k is really just you against the course. Except you don’t have to lug a heavy bag everywhere you go, or make someone else lug it. And, hopefully, no sand traps.
The rules are simple: Follow the course until it ends. You don’t even have to run.
Unlike gymnastics or football or basketball, body type isn’t a particular help or hindrance to success. Yes, the best runners have about zero percent body fat, but plenty of fast finishers look like you and me.
Well, they look like you.
The distance – 6.2 miles, in case you’re metrically impaired – is easy to grasp.
Unlike other events that promise “fun for the whole family,” a 10k actually delivers. You can win your age group at 6 or at 86. And it’s possible that both those people will cross the finish line together.
Without fail, some wise guy will enter himself as “Wile E. Coyote” just to see his name in the paper like that. You probably don’t do that if you’ve got to run 26.2 miles.
And there’s no overtime! If two runners cross the finish at the same time, nobody steps out and says, “OK, run another mile to decide the winner.”
moving quickly
The best runners will cross the finish line in about 30 minutes. That’s a very easy investment of time as a spectator to find out who won. And if you’re waiting for someone who’s not that fast, it’s not like you’ll be waiting for six hours. Hopefully.
I watched my third Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10k last Saturday and this week’s Gum Tee 10k in Tupelo will be the fourth or maybe fifth for me to work as a reporter.
My race – to talk to the winners and make sure we get the results in Sunday’s paper – starts when everyone else’s ends.
Let’s do this thing.
John L. Pitts (john.pitts@journalinc.com) has been sports editor of the Journal since 2006.