A race in late December is always a risk when it comes to weather conditions. The Ugly Holiday Sweater Run fell on a particularly rainy, but warmer than usual Saturday. Me and a couple of friends made the annual trip to Road Runner Sports in Tualatin for this free untimed 5K benefiting the Ladybug CDH Foundation. This foundation raises funds for northwest families affected by Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH.) CDH is a congenital malformation (birth defect) of the diaphragm in which a hole in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move into the chest and restrict lung development. CDH is a birth defect that occurs in about one in every 2,500 live births. There is no charge for this event, but donations of items for those in the NICU born with this disease are accepted, as are monetary donations.
Despite the fact that this is “just a fun run,” I enjoy the festive atmosphere of the ugly holiday sweaters, running tights, hats, and even full costumes this run brings out. The Ugly Holiday Sweater Run starts at Road Runner Sports, which is a great bonus for several reasons. First, because there is no waiting outside in the elements before/after the race. And 2nd, you can shop for running gear before/after the race with a race day discount and a percentage of the sales going to the CDH Foundation.
At start time the rain had mellowed out and despite the many puddles along the course, we mostly just got sprinkled on as we ran. It was my feet that ended up the soggiest, as sometimes it was impossible to avoid the puddles – or ponds – along the way. The course was a little different than years past due to some closures on the trail, but the distance was pretty close to a true 5K (according to my Garmin.) The out and back nature of the run made for the ability to see plenty of festive, but truly ugly, holiday outfits. If you weren’t feeling Christmas-y before the run, you were sure to get your fill of the holiday spirit all around you.
After the run we dried out in Road Runner Sports where there were plenty of bagels, coffee, hot chocolate, and other snacks. There were even some adult beverages to spike your hot chocolate with if you so desired. There was a raffle drawing for plenty of great prizes, and of course, some shopping in case Santa wasn’t bringing you your desired running gear.
While this is a casual event, I recommend it for several reasons:
- 1) It’s FREE!
- 2) It supports and brings awareness to a great cause.
- 3) It brings out everyone’s holiday spirit – even if it’s a little ugly. 😉
- 4) Last minute Christmas shopping for running gear – without fighting the typical shopping crowds.
- 5) Great prizes – if you are lucky enough to win.
- 6) It’s a fun, festive event to enjoy every year with friends.
If you missed the Ugly Holiday Sweater Run this year, put it on your radar for 2020. You’re sure to enjoy this festive 5K and you’ll have an excuse to break out that ugly holiday sweater you’ve been dying to wear.