Luke Austin took part in his first road race ever over the weekend, and it was so much fun he already can't wait for next year.

That's right it was my first road race, but no stretching was required of me or the other runners, because a light jog down Edward Street to the Celtic Harp is all that was needed to finish!

Over the weekend the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica held their inaugural .5k race, and it was not only a hit, but a ton of fun too.

Point-5-K means half a kilometer, or roughly 500 yards, so right off the bat it was my kinda run.

Here's the story:

We arrived at 9 a.m. on Saturday for registration in the back parking lot of the F.X. Matt brewery. It was raining, but that won't stop us. We are Central New Yorkers after all(there was free beer at the finish).

Luke Austin, TSM

The race began at 10 a.m. and the turnout was fantastic for a rainy chilly morning, and for the first time the event has been held in Utica.

Luke Austin, TSM

Halfway through the course there was a stop for coffee and doughnuts from Dippin' Donuts, so everyone of course sprinted there.

Luke Austin, TSM

Then it was the last leg of the race from the doughnut stop to the Celtic Harp. Running was tough here, but only because it's hard to run while eating doughnuts and drinking coffee.

Luke Austin, TSM

Our official time, including eating of a doughnut was a respectable 3 mins and 37 seconds(most of that was doughnut eating).

Luke Austin, TSM

Then after the race, all the runners were treated to great live music and a free Saranac at the Celtic Harp on Varick Street.

Naomi Lynn, TSM

Of course race officials had (hilarious)signs set up along the course to encourage the runners.

All in all it was a great day. We helped a fantastic local charity - The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica and got to make some new friends.

Most importantly I now have one of those stickers for my car that says I ran a race!

This really was a ton of fun, and all jokes aside was a great way to help out a charity that helps 1 in 4 people in our community.

I already can't wait for next year's .5k.

You can learn m ore about the United Way's .5k and take a look at many more photos on The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area's Facebook page.