There’s nothing like a sunny spring day to get people excited about outdoor exercise. We’ve had a handful of them in Missoula over the last few weeks, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen more people walking, jogging or biking than I did during our first days of pleasant spring weather.

This time of year also marks the beginning of the spring and summer fun-run season, with road and trail races taking place almost every weekend for the next several months.

In addition to the usual 5Ks and 10Ks, this spring’s local race schedule features a unique event that is perfect for those looking for a way to ease their way into the running scene, or just add some variety to their racing repertoire.

The Happy Trails 5K is an event designed for teams of three people. Each team member must complete a relay leg of approximately one mile. The event was organized by Big Sky High School senior track and field athletes Erynn Boyer and Jessica Diehl, who planned the race in order to fulfill their school’s senior project requirement.

Whether you’re a serious runner or someone who’s just looking for something fun to do with friends or coworkers, this is the race for you. Add in the fact that all race proceeds will benefit Missoula Habitat for Humanity, and there’s no excuse not to participate.

The race will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Missoula Equestrian Park. Registration will be open from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. in the same location. There is a race fee of $39 per team — that’s $13 per person for those of you who missed division day in math class — or $15 for those wishing to run the entire 5K individually.

All participants will receive race T-shirts and free post-race refreshments. So dig out your lucky socks and get ready to lace up your running shoes for a great cause. See you there!

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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