It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving grocery lists are being created, Christmas decorations are getting dug out of attics, and soon we will all be bombarded with holiday sales and specials galore. All this holiday hubbub is enough to make me want to strap on my running shoes every day for the next three months just for a little escape. Luckily, along with the frenzy comes the perfect way to blow off some steam—holiday races!
Every year, thousands of runners take to the streets on and around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s to celebrate with some jovial running. At first glance, these races may just seem like one more thing to add to your ever-growing holiday to-do list. But what I’ve discovered is they actually add more fun, not stress, to the season. It’s like a party where all I have to do is show up and run. If you need some convincing, here are some reasons why I love them:
- They save my sanity. Managing the shopping lists, congested airports, crowded grocery stores, awkward holiday parties, and sometimes very-extended family time, is enough to make this girl insane. Running—the only time I can turn my brain off for at least half an hour—is my No. 1 stress reliever and I need it during the holidays more than ever. By putting a few races on my calendar, I’m creating built-in me-time.
- They burn some calories. To me, the holidays are the holidays and I’ll have a slice of pie if I please. I know I’m not going to eat super healthfully all the time, so to balance out that second helping of mashed potatoes I’m sure to devour, a few 5Ks will ensure at least I’m burning some calories along the way.
- The costumes. Something about watching a pilgrim, reindeer, or Santa Claus run a 5K just makes me smile. Whether you’re running incognito or not, the creative ensembles definitely add to the festivity.
- The fun with family and friends. Okay, I said running is me-time. But holiday races can easily be turned into family/friend time, too. The holidays are all about being with the ones you love, after all. So bring the whole family along and make it a new tradition. It doesn’t have to be competitive… unless, of course, you’re part of my family.
Here are some of the fun races happening around Chas this year. Make sure to register early for discounted rates!
Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble: Nov. 22
Reindeer Run: Dec. 1
Mt. Pleasant Jiggle Bell Run: Dec. 8
Bulldog Breakaway New Year’s 5K: Jan. 5
If you’re traveling over the holidays, just check out the local races where you are. For the past two years I’ve been in Oklahoma with family over New Year’s and we’ve run in the New Year’s Eve race (actually running at midnight) both years. I literally raced into 2012, and with a few holiday 5Ks on the schedule, I plan to race out of it, too.