Strengthening Legs and Community

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By Matt Larson

Brazen Racing provides races for runners of all rankings.

Running is healthy, we all know that. But running together, with friends and strangers? That takes it to another level. Since 2009, Brazen Racing has provided us with countless opportunities to get to know ourselves, and our neighbors.

“Building community is kind of the bigger thing over the actual sport itself of running,” said Brazen Racing Founder and Race Director Sam Fiandaca. He explains how people can often end up isolating themselves a bit by sticking to the same social circles, same grocery stores, same everything for too long. When this happens, he says, “I think your world becomes a little smaller.” Attending an event with Brazen Racing allows you to get out, get active, and meet people you wouldn’t normally meet anywhere else.

“When you’re out there running with other people, you’re all in it together,” Fiandaca explains. “You’re just out there with your fellow human beings running, appreciating the outside, really feeling alive and appreciating the other people; it’s hard to exert that kind of physical effort and remain anything but happy at the end by the time you’re done with it all.” The world could sure learn a lot from Brazen Racing, we think.

For us in the Bay Area, there’s plenty of Brazen Racing to go around. Last year they solely produced 28 running events and supported another 40-50. They tend to keep the races close to home here in West County, but extend to reaches as far as Vacaville, San Jose and Livermore. Most of their events are 5k, 10k and half-marathon distances, as well as a select amount of marathon or 50k races, which gives runners of all levels some great opportunities. Most Brazen Racing events average about 1,100 runners; sometimes half that, sometimes twice that. If by now you’re feeling pretty intimidated, don’t worry, even the most novice runners have a place with Brazen Racing.

“It’s perfectly fine to start by walking,” Fiandaca says. “Run for 30 seconds, walk for a few minutes, run for 30 seconds, walk a few minutes, and build up from there.” A common fear of an anxious entrant is that they’ll be the last one to finish the race. First of all, “it’s almost never the case as there’s always someone slower than you,” he reassures us. Second, “even if you are the last person—who cares? There has to be somebody who’s last, and nobody’s going to look down on you for that.” Additionally, with so many different race lengths, a 5k runner has plenty of opportunities to work their way up to marathon level by attending 10k or half marathons provided by Brazen.

As a nonprofit organization, Brazen Racing strengthens the community inside and out. Some of their most popular events are at Thanksgiving time, which last year raised about 4,000 pounds of food that was donated to local food banks—primarily to the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano—as well as around $6-$7,000 for them. And throughout the year they raise funds for the East Bay Regional Park District’s Campership Program, which is like a scholarship designed to send kids from lower-income areas to camp. And that’s just in the East Bay! Brazen Racing is making an impact all over the greater Bay Area and, now in their 8th year of operations, they’re really just getting started.

Fiandaca looks forward to seeing new faces at every Brazen race, and invites you to join them! If you’re still a little unsure of your abilities and want to wait to get in “peak physical condition,” maybe, ya know, just get started now? “You don’t want to wait forever,” he says. “If you do an event it’s going to make you want to run more. You’re better off just going out and trying it.”

To book your race or get more information, visit http://www.brazenracing.com. Don’t forget to stretch!

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