Race Recap: 2014 Ugly Holiday Sweater Run

When I heard that the Ladybug CDH Foundation was putting on their 3rd Annual (free!) Ugly Holiday Sweater Run, I was determined to make it this year.  Those that know me, know that I am not a costumed running kind of girl.  I prefer my comfortable running gear with no frills.  But, for this cause, I decided to go for the ugly sweater.  After terrifying thoughts of having to search through a multitude of 2nd hand stores (also not my thing,) I took my search online.  In no time at all, I found  The Sweater Store and purchased my ugly sweater.  Mission accomplished.

I began recruiting friends and clients to join me in my “out of my comfort zone” run. No way was I doing this solo!  On race day, 4 of us headed to Road Runner Sports for the festive self-timed 5K. The rain was coming down in buckets and, I have to admit, I was a little worried about how my sweater was going to hold up once it was water-logged.  I pictured it getting longer and longer the wetter it became.  Arriving at Road Runner Sports, we dropped off our donations of various baby items for the Ladybug CDH Foundation, signed the waiver, picked up our raffle tickets and enjoyed the many ugly sweaters, t-shirts, and creative costumes while we waited for the race to begin.

Some of the ugly sweaters at the 2014 Ugly Holiday Sweater Run.

Before the run, the Ugly Sweater Contest was held.  While there was a whole lot of ugly to choose from, the winner was definitely the most creative with a self-made chimney costume, complete with a fireplace iPad as part of the outfit.

The 2014 Ugly Sweater first place winner with her trophy.

When race director Liz Dooley spoke about the Ladybug CDH Foundation, it brought tears to her eyes.  This cause is close to her heart, as her daughter was diagnosed with CDH before birth. Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (or CDH) is a birth defect that is life threatening for infants.  Liz’s daughter was diagnosed with CDH, and given a 40-50% survival rate.  As Liz spoke to the racers about this, her 4-year-old daughter, Finley,  made her way to her mom’s side. Liz tousled Finley’s hair and gave her a hug as she shared about how her daughter beat the odds and is here today.  Liz’s daughter’s success story has not dampened Liz’s passion for helping others who are dealing with CDH and in finding improved successes, treatments, and awareness for this little known birth defect.

Fueled by Liz’s passion and our festive sweaters, about 100 of us headed out into the rain for our holiday 5K. The 4 of us that came together all have different running paces, but we ran together chatting and sloshing through giant puddles.  We enjoyed the sights of the many holiday sweaters making their way down the streets of  Tualatin. There were definitely some stares and honks as the crazy-looking bunch of runners braved the rain.  Running past a wetland area we saw an egret, a heron, and a variety of ducks.  We meandered through areas of Tualatin that I had never been and then turned around at the A-frame sign that had been set on the trail for us (after we called back some straying runners who had started running down a side path, not seeing the sign ahead.)   We made our way back to the start with our very wet (but still intact) sweaters. While waiting for the post-race raffle, some of us runners did some shopping.  Road Runner Sports was generously donating a percentage of their sales from racers that day to the Ladybug CDH Foundation.

My friends and I post-race.  Wet, but still smiling!

The Ugly Holiday Sweater Run was a fun, festive, casual event.  If you’re looking for a holiday run you can enjoy with family and friends, I highly recommend this for 2015.  It’s a great excuse to break out the ugly-wear and have a little fun, while getting behind a cause that truly needs your support.

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