My wife gave me running as a gift. She was a runner in the past, having done the Chicago Marathon, and decided one day to bring a running routine back into her life. She kept inviting me to join her, but my workout experience, and my thinking, was still confined to a very basic routine in the neighborhood gym.

On an especially humid spring day, for some reason that is still unknown to me, I ran with her. Well, perhaps I should not express what I did that day as running. Flailing, stumbling, gasping would better explain what happened that morning. But the important part was that I got off the sofa and went with her.

That day changed everything. That was the Spring of 2015.

A run-walk gradually became a run. A mile turned into two miles. Two miles turned into a 5K. I can still remember that day I managed to run an entire 3.1 miles without stopping.

“Let’s sign up for the Shamrock Half Marathon.”

The words roll from my wife’s lips in her usual nonchalant tone as she’s swiping through the Shamrock website checking out prices. Since she already knows what I’m thinking, she jumps ahead.

“You won’t die.”

So with that simple promise I began my journey towards becoming a runner. The half marathon was a serious step that required training, a schedule, a plan, and many miles to prepare. I quickly discovered that I needed two major things for success; space & time.

The space was easy. We have a great pedestrian/bike path near the house, we live near an amazingly beautiful park full of beautiful trails, and I worked right on the oceanfront’s boardwalk. There were many great places to run. Time, however, was a much bigger challenge. Working at small non-profit museum means crazy hours. It means nights. It means weekends. It means a normal schedule is, shall we say, elusive. Since I ran very, very slowly, the miles would take time. One slot kept coming back as the best time to run; early in the morning.

Five AM Early.

What I discovered on these early morning runs I never tire of re-discovering. The morning is cool, quiet, and often breathtakingly beautiful. I usually run to the inlet water near our home, or all the way to the oceanfront to enjoy the sunrise at the beach. One of the most beautiful things to see in Virginia Beach is the sun rising above the ocean’s edge.

Since running the Shamrock Half Marathon in 2016, I’ve knocked out multiple half marathons, have two more scheduled for 2018 and am training for my first go at 26.2 miles this November in Richmond. The races are fun, and I love them, but for me, I’ll swap the medals and PR’s for a sunrise run anytime.

That’s why I created Run With the Sun this year. It’s a free 5K at sunrise. Nothing more, nothing less. Just some runners who understand how absolutely amazing the Virginia Beach sunrises can be.

So please, come run with us. Come Run With the Sun.