September is in the books.

I will consider it my first full month in chasing down this personal dream to cover races and showcase the stories behind the participants and organizers. So far, this project has been nothing short of a blast, although humbling at times. The reasons that people run in these events are countless, but I am beginning to understand that many people simply run to help others, which is quite a beautiful idea in which to take solace.

As we get into October, we see the beauty of nature fully unleashed in color and cooler winds. Humidity gives way to crisp mornings and easier breathing. It is simply a great season to get out and run around La Porte. The far reaching views of cornfields being harvested are interrupted only by the fiery colors of tree lines changing color. If you decide to weave around our inland lakes, well, the views are equally as perfect.

Wherever you choose to get in your miles, be excited that La Porte and the surrounding counties cater to the casual walker and competitive runner alike. This project will take me to three races this month. Each one has a greater purpose, and serves as opportunities to make memories during this time of year where the senses are delighted at every turn.

First, I will head over to Michigan City on Saturday. The Salvation Army Red Shield 5K run will begin at 8 a.m. It has a $25 entry fee with prices increasing to $30 on race day. The run begins and ends somewhere on Springland Avenue. The benefits to this race go toward the Salvation Army, which requires no explanation given the history and importance of this organization. The last time I checked, there were only seven participants signed up, so get on runsignup.com and make a difference for yourself and the community.

The following week, I will be covering an event that caught my intrigue last year, although I didn’t make it out to the race. It is the RIP (Run In the Panic) 5K trail run. It begins and ends at a residential property at 1810 North 500 West. I grew up around that area in Jongkind Park, so I look forward to re-exploring my old stomping grounds. The cost is $35 with proceeds going to support the Center Township Volunteer Fire Department. Stick around for the after party, which features a bonfire, food, drink and music.

The final race of the month will take me just outside of the confines of La Porte to Chesterton. Manda’s Race, which I have run in the past, is a fantastic event. I remember being taken away by the size of this race along with a great post-race atmosphere. The race helps fight drug addiction, and is one of the more well-organized events around the area. It is a cool $20 to enter, and it comes with a T-shirt. It begins and ends at Westchester Intermediate School at 9 a.m. The race features an Athena and Clydesdale division, which appeals to runners like myself who aren’t afraid of a triple cheese burger every now and then.

So if you decide to run to for a cause, bragging rights, or a sweet T-shirt (which is offered at each race), October is your month. Get out and allow the shorter days to fuel your soul with experiences you will never forget. All of these races welcome runners at any age group, so don’t hesitate to make these events a family affair. If you’ve been apprehensive to sign up for a 5K, don’t be. Just get in runningintheusa.com and take the plunge into an event.

You won’t regret it.

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