RENO, NV - Spring is a great time to get in shape, and what better way to do it than by running?
In April, Reno 5000, a local company sponsored by they Dolan Auto Group, kicks off a full season of events with a downtown river run, offering a variety of distances for runners and joggers of all ages and abilities. However, this year, for the first time, those looking for an opportunity to run the famous Boston Marathon will now have a chance to qualify right here in the Biggest Little City.
Hundreds of runners at ages ranging from 4 to 80 will take part in the annual Downtown River Run on April 13. For some, it's their first race, but for others, it's their ticket to the big race in Boston.
Sarah Raitter, a local middle school teacher, has been running for about 25 years. She's been training for two hours every day since the beginning of the year to gear up for her biggest challenge yet.
"Marathon training is not easy. It's a lot of hard work, lot of consistent mileage," she said. "When everybody is sleeping, we're out there in the dark running 20-mile runs. It's not easy but you definitely see the reward of the hard work."
Raitter will be running her first Boston Marathon this year on April 21st, but she won't be the only one. The annual Downtown River Run could pave the way to the big race for runners; for the first time in northern Nevada, the run qualifies for Boston.
"We enjoy putting on these running events for our community for a better lifestyle with fitness and have goals for them to train and race for," Will Contreras, Reno 5000 race director, said.
The tragic Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 shattered the nation, but it also brought the running community even closer.
"You can't hold a group of runners down. We're going to go to Boston and we're going to prove that Reno is a strong running community," said Raitter. "Runners in general are strong people and will ban together and just show them what we've got."
It's all worth the hard work when runners cross the finish line.
"It is completely exhilarating and you can't even really describe that feeling unless you've done it yourself."
If you aren't quite ready for a marathon, perhaps a 5K, 10K or a half marathon is more your speed.
Contreras is asking the community to come out and support the runners during the big race by cheering them on throughout the course. The map of the course is posted online.
Proceeds from the race will go toward the Boys & Girls Club of the Truckee Meadows.