The UpHill 5k is aimed at increasing the Health and Wellness of African-Americans in the City of Pittsburgh and is part of a deeply rooted legacy to bring awareness to health disparities that exist in the Hill District and beyond.
As far back as the 1980s Sala Udin, then Executive Director of the House of the Crossroads, started the Afro Dash to bring awareness to the need of African Americans to be more conscious of their physical and mental health; The Afro Dash started on Centre Ave and ran to the Highland Park Reservoir. The Afro Dash successfully continued for several years before eventually coming to a halt.
In the years that followed, the African American citizens in the Hill District and throughout the region continued to suffer from chronic health disparities. Heart disease, prostate cancer, and diabetes continued to affect African Americans at far greater rates across Allegheny County . Leadership and stakeholders from across the city were once again exploring methods to heighten awareness. Then in 2010 a new program emerged under the guidance and leadership of Sala Udin, who was the new Chief Executive Officer at CORO Center for Civic Leadership.
The new program was focused on identifying and connecting the next generation of community leaders. The first neighborhood to have this program was the Hill District. Challenged to develop a sustainable and transformational project, the men and women within the cohort decided that residents in the Hill needed to have more opportunities to become healthy and that their physical environment must be conducive to supporting their physical health. Therefore, they decided to concentrate on building a greener community where having more walkable streets would be incentive to become more physically active. These efforts culminated with a renewed Hill District race in 2010--- the UpHill 5k.
After a one year hiatus, State Representative Jake Wheatley, working with a few other Hill District based community organizations picked up the concept of providing more opportunities for the community residents to be active and to highlight some of the positive changes taking place in the community. In September of 2012, as a part of Representative Wheatley's Health and Wellness Weekend, the UpHIll 5k was reborn.
Please stop here FIRST.
The starting line will be at Freedom Corner (the corner of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street). This is also where registration, snacks, activities, and staff will be stationed.
BEFORE THE RACE...
Physical Preparation for a 5K
Preparing for a 5K can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to running or walking in a race. Here are some tips to get you through the weeks leading up to the big race:
Get excited about your race! Once you take the step to sign up for your first race, get excited and let others know you’re going to run. This will give you a deadline and motivation to set up and maintain your training schedule, plus you will be more accountable for your goal.
Pace yourself. Before beginning training, see your physician for a pre-participation physical exam. As with the race itself, it is important to pace yourself when training. Start slowly – if you currently don’t run or have been inactive for a while, give yourself about 8 to 12 weeks to train. Start with brisk walks, then progress to walking three minutes and running for one. Gradually, run more until you’re running for a full 30 minutes at an easy pace.
Maintain a healthy diet. Leading up to the race, maintain a healthy, normal diet. You know what works for you, so avoid eating anything new. This is especially important the night before your race as it could cause stomach distress and impair your ability to complete the race.
Stay well hydrated. Focus on getting pre-hydrated a few days before your race and avoid drinking excessively the day of the race, which can dilute your electrolytes and cause bloating. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine which can cause dehydration.
Break in apparel before the race. When it comes to wardrobe, do not wear anything new on race day. Break in new shoes or apparel beforehand to be sure it doesn’t lead to blisters or chafing.
Mentally Prepare for your First Race
Even for seasoned racers, the days leading up to a race can be stressful. Preparing mentally will help you arrive calm and ready to run your best. Check out these tips to mentally prepare for race day:
Overcome mental hurdles. Many have fears of being too slow or too out of shape to run a race and these mental hurdles can be more overwhelming than physical ones. If you have doubts, try volunteering or simply watching a 5K. This will not only allow you to become more comfortable with how the race works, but it will allow you to see the wide range of runners who participate, from young to old and petite to plus sized.
Mentally run the course. Reduce stress by becoming familiar with the course and the course type. You can also take this one step further by walking the course beforehand to familiarize yourself with areas you will need to push yourself and where you can coast.
Avoid added stress by getting organized the night before. Lay out your race-day clothes, shoes and other gear, such as sunscreen and bandages, as well as your bib number or timing chip the night before your race. Not only will this save you time in the morning, but it will also save you from forgetting something important due to pre-race anxiety.
DURING THE RACE...
Fuel up before your race. It is important to give your body ample time to breakdown the needed nutrients and allow your stomach to settle before your race. So eat something, such as multigrain bread, fruits or vegetables, about three hours beforehand.
Dress for 15 to 20 degrees warmer. It is also important to not overdress. Check out the weather forecast and dress for 15 to 20 degrees warmer as this is how much your body will warm up once you start running. If it is going to be cold, bring expendable clothing that you are okay with not getting back, and shed these after you warm up.
Find your race pace. Remember, this race is for you, so don’t worry about others around you or their race times. Instead, focus on breathing. During your first mile you should be able to talk. If you can’t, slow down. As you head into the second mile, your breathing should pick up to the point where you can hear yourself, but you aren’t gasping for air. Once you hit two miles, you can start picking things up. Find a runner within an attainable distance ahead of you and push yourself to pass them. This is very empowering and will add some adrenaline for your final stage of the race!
Stay hydrated during the race. Keeping your body hydrated is essential to race success. Depending on how hot it is and pre-hydration, you may need to grab a drink at an aid station. As you approach the station, get a quick feel for the layout, then make eye contact with a volunteer and point at his or her cup. Once the volunteer extends the cup, pinch the sides to form a spout to make it easier to drink.