Here are some common questions about running your first race, answered by Webmaster Mary, who has run more races than she can count. The general assumption here is that you will be a mid to back of the packer, and won't be planning to lead the pack in your first race.

Are races open to the public?

Yes. Most races are open to the public. This Mount Airy 5K race is open to the public. You don't need any special membership, just a little money.

How far is a 5k?

3.1 miles.

How do I sign up to run a race?

Register HERE online or use the attached printable registration form. Registering early will save you money. No same day registration accepted.

How much does it cost?

Expect to pay about $10 to $30 for a 5K. The longer the race, the more expensive it will be. Expect to pay $30 to $180 for a marathon.

What do I do before the race?

  • Arrive about 30 minutes to an hour before the start.
  • Since you have pre-registered, you'll need to pick up your packet. There will be a bib number and a goodie bag with a t-shirt, and other freebies.
  • If you are registering the day of the race, fill out the form, and pay, and you'll get your packet.
  • If the race is chip timed, you'll need to get your chip and attach it to yourself, according to the directions. This might be something that attaches to your shoe or around your ankle or to your shirt.
  • Attach the bib number to the front of your body somewhere.
  • • Go potty. Runners love to go potty before races. The lines for the potties will be long.
  • • Put the race shirt in your car. Do not wear it for the race.

What do I do at the start?

  • When you see everyone heading to the start line, follow them.
  • Runners are supposed to line up according to how they think they will finish - fast runners in the front, slow runners in the back, walkers behind the runners. This prevents congestion on the course. You want to be amongst runners who will be running the same pace as you. You don't want to be passed by swarms of folks, and you don't want to be dodging and weaving around people slower than you.
  • There will generally be some pre-race announcements, followed by the National Anthem.

What do I do during the race?

The race will start either by gun, air horn, or someone yelling go. Just follow the folks in front of you, and you'll be fine.

If you need to stop, walk, tie a shoe, adjust something, pull over to the side. You don't want to cause a bottle-neck, or a sudden stop for the people behind you.

What do I do at the finish?

The finish line should be pretty obvious. There should be race officials directing you where to go. Just follow their instructions.

If the race uses tear-tags, the bottom portion of your bib will need to be torn off and handed to an official at the end of the finish chute.

If the race uses chip timing, your chip may need to be collected. Some chips are disposable, others are re-used. Just follow the instructions of the race officials. If the chips need to be collected, there will be people helping to remove them from your shoe or ankle.