One of the most popular races in the area takes place in Southport on Thanksgiving morning. It is sponsored by The Pequot Running Club and draws thousands of runners. Years ago, when it was first organized, there were only 100+ runners. Now, it's the premiere race in the area.

Here are some racing tips:

- Get to the race one hour before it starts for physiological readiness which would employ the proper stretching warm-up exercises.

- The importance of jogging for about 6-8 minutes to get the blood to the muscles, tissues and skin.

- The importance of running full out for 30-40 yards to raise the body temperature one degree. This helps you get your second wind. This should be started about 10-15 minutes before race time so that the body is warmed up, particularly because this race is in the early morning and the body temperature is cool. The muscles and tissues need this warm-up for more efficient, injury-free racing.

- A good racing style is a must, and if learned early, it can give you an edge. The goal of your racing style is good posture, something you can attain by lining up the head, shoulders and hips directly over the feet. Start by getting up on your toes and leaning slightly forward in a relaxed position from the ankle to the head. You should be coming down on the ball of your foot and then push off with the last bit of weight on the big toe.

More Information

Fact box

- One of the most important factors of racing is to learn how to keep an even pace over the distance.

First-timers should start out slow and build up the pace as they become comfortable with breathing at that pace.

Consider making it a family affair! It will improve your health and mood and is one of the easiest types of exercise.

Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons and has a practice in Darien: The Foot & Ankle Institute of Darien. For more information, visit www.therunning