Learning to run has never been easier or more accessible. As the Rainbow 5K quickly approaches, race coordinator Sergey Voronkin wants Wilton Manors residents to know that anyone can compete in the race. 

To prepare for the event, Voronkin is leading a training program called Couch to 5K.

“It’s a program for members, for friends, for anyone,” he said. “There are no requirements to be a runner, in fact I encourage everyone to join us.”

Voronkin believes that anyone can complete a 5K, even if they have no running experience.

“We have people who have never run before and people who ran many years ago,” he said.

The program is seven weeks long, but Voronkin said that there is no cutoff date for when people can join. Training began on March 17, but participants can still sign up and reap the benefits.

People who want to participate in the program can attend sessions twice a week: Wednesdays and Sundays.

Due to COVID, only 10 people can gather at a time. Voronkin said that it’s not necessarily a bad thing though.

“I’ll be honest, I’m not comfortable with more than 10 people because it’s not easy to give your attention to everyone,” he said.

With a limited number of participants, Voronkin knows that he’ll be able to give everyone special attention to make sure they’re performing at their best.

Participants can choose to wear a mask if they wish to.

Voronkin assures that participants won’t start running marathons at their first session.

“We’re going to be talking about some really basic stuff,” he said. “We’ll start with regular warm-ups.”

Warming up is the most important part of running according to Voronkin.

“It doesn’t take very long and gives us fewer chances for injury,” he said.

Next, participants should expect to learn about running methods.

“Running fast is actually not necessary at all,” Voronkin said. “You’re not trying to catch someone or run from someone.”

He explained that thinking you have to run fast is a common misconception. Even if you aren’t speedy, you can become a runner.

Voronkin encourages everyone to try this program, even if they think they’ll fail.

“First of all, it’s free,” he said with a chuckle. “Usually to get decent training, you’d have to spend a decent amount of money. This is free and what could be better than free things?”

Even though it’s a short-term program, participants can expect to get a lot out of it — including finishing the Rainbow 5K this year.

“If you commit to this and do the training and do the homework, I can assure you that you’ll finish the 5K,” Voronkin said.

The Rainbow 5K is sponsored by the Pride Centeer at the Equality Park. The couch to 5K program is hosted by the Front Runners and Walkers of Fort Lauderdale, the local LGBT running and walking group.   

The Rainbow 5K takes place on May 23, 2021 at 7:15 a.m. To sign up for the race, visit the official race website.

The first 400 participants in the race will receive a free medal, t-shirt, and bag.

To sign up for the Couch to 5K program, visit the program’s website.