There are many ways to enjoy the upcoming Lakewood Summer Meltdown, but few compare to the thrill of participating in a large, urban road race.  This opportunity presents itself in just 15 days, when hundreds of participants will traverse the city’s streets before crossing a finish line at the edge of a vibrant street festival.

Lakewood Summer Meltdown 5K

By the time you cross the finish line at the Meltdown 5K, the fun has only just begun. (Photo Credit: The Lakewood Citizen)

Sponsored by Melt Bar and Grilled and presented by LakewoodAlive, the Lakewood Summer Meltdown will be here before you know it, taking place on Saturday, July 9, in Downtown Lakewood (register now for the Meltdown 5K!).  But before you lace up your running shoes and make your way to the starting line, here are five tips for running the Meltdown 5K:

1. Spend the Day Staying Properly Hydrated
Unlike most road races, which occur during the wee hours of the morning, the Meltdown 5K offers a unique starting time of 7 p.m. Consequently, you’ll be awake and capable of properly hydrating yourself on race day. Drink plenty of water all day, gradually tapering your H2O intake during the last several hours before the race.  This is summer, after all.

2. Participate in the 1 Mile Kids Fun Run
The 1 Mile Kids Fun Run – sponsored by Lakewood Family YMCA – kicks off one hour prior to the Meltdown 5K at 6 p.m. If you’re like us, you’re likely a big kid at heart. But even if you’re too old to qualify as a kid and run this race, you can still participate by cheering and spectating during the event that always serves as a crowd-pleaser.

3. Start Fast, But Don’t Zig-Zag
It’s neither a sprint nor a marathon; rather, the 3.1 miles encompassing the Meltdown 5K represent a happy medium. Since the course is flat and fast with a reputation for producing personal-best times, you’ll need to start fast to stay near the lead pack. Still, it’s important not to zig-zag through the crowd early in the race, as this will waste precious energy.  Instead, conserve this energy for the final mile, making your push at that time.

Lakewood Summer Meltdown 5K

Several hundred runners are expected to participate in the 2016 Meltdown 5K. (Photo Credit: Faces of Lakewood)

4. Be Prepared to Collect Some Swag
In addition to the winning male and female, the top three finishers from both genders of each age group will receive an award. But even if you’re not a speed demon, you still won’t leave this race empty-handed. Each participant receives a sleek Summer Meltdown runner t-shirt.  And utilization of chip timing ensures you’ll have access to accurate race results.

5. Stay for the Post-Race Party!
As you cross the finish line and your runner’s high converts to post-race euphoria, there will be plenty of additional Lakewood Summer Meltdown festivities left for you to enjoy. First, cool off by running through the “Water Moose” sprinkler park. Then after you’ve sought nourishment from one of the local vendors or food trucks, visit the beer garden, sponsored by Buckeye Beer Engine.  The combination of live music and a “Lakewood Lager” or “Summer Meltdown Ale” from Buckeye Brewing Company represents the perfect way to celebrate the successful completion of the Meltdown 5K.