As you guys know, Chris and I ran the Christmas Story Run 5k this past weekend and I am happy to report that it was a much better experience for me this year than last! I wasn’t sick and it wasn’t bitterly cold. That is the short recap, ready for the longer version?
On Friday night Chris, his parents and myself headed to Cleveland. The drive from where we live is a little over 3 hours and since Chris’s Dad was doing the driving I got to sit back and enjoy the ride. I am typically the driver everywhere Chris and I go so it was nice to be the passenger for a change.
We got to our hotel pretty late so we pretty much just slept there. It was the exact same hotel that we stayed at last year and it is located relatively close to where the race starts.
On Saturday morning we headed over to packet pick up which was at the Renaissance Hotel, a slightly different location than last year, but in the same general area. Packet pick up was smooth and quick and we ended up having quite a bit of time before the race got underway.
With the extra time we checked out the Christmas Tree at Tower City Center and the window displays at Higbee’s! Tower City Center also had a bunch of a guitars throughout the mall which were pretty cool too!
Before long it was time for the race to start and as luck would have it the rain dissipated and although it was cold (temps were in the high 30’s) it wasn’t 2013 cold. It was also a bit windy but nothing crazy.
The start line was in a slightly different spot this year, we suspect due to some road construction, but we had no complaints about starting in front of the Hard Rock.
The course was pretty much exactly the same as last year but this time I actually got to enjoy it more. Last year I was just trying to make it to the finish line since I wasn’t feeling well.
Like last year they had quotes from A Christmas Story on various signs throughout the run. Although a few of them had blown over because of the wind.
One of the best parts of this race is the costumes! There were so many people dressed up as different characters from the movie from people dressed up as a leg lamp to people dressed up as Ralphie himself!
Thanks to all the costume watching, we were at the Christmas Story House and the finish line in no time!
Once we crossed the finish line we got our medal and some snacks to refuel with. They had a good selection of post race fuel including bagels, cookies, yogurt, milk, Ovaltine and more!
While we waited for Chris’s parents to catch up to us, I grabbed us a spot in line to go inside the Christmas Story House. The line was much longer than last year but we all took turns going inside the gift shop to warm up.
After touring the house we went over to the museum. We did not do that last year so that was new to us. The museum houses a lot of original items from the movie and it was fun to check out.
After the museum we headed to the buses so we could get back to the start line and to our car so we could head back home. Last year we waited in line for 30-45 minutes for the bus but this year we got right on! I think this was mostly due to us spending more time in the area after the race but they may have also made some improvements in the bussing as well.
Speaking of improvements there are a few things that I noticed that are worthy of noting.
1) The 10k racers run an out and back course so once they get to the Christmas Story house they make a turn and head back on the same path that the 5k runners are on. There needs to be some sort of divider so that the 10k people don’t have to shout at the 5k people to move over.
2. They ran out of race medals. Chris and I got a medal but his Mom did not. She will receive hers in the mail in about a month as there was a shipping issue with the medals. I’ve seen this happen at races before but I have never been on the end of not receiving a medal. I can only imagine how much it sucks to cross the finish line and not get the medal that you were looking forward to getting.
3. I had the unusual opportunity to be present when they were breaking down the post race food areas. I’m usually not at races long enough to see that so maybe this happens at every race but there was a TON of food left over. I am talking about cases upon cases of water, yogurt, milk, cookies etc. I don’t know what happens to all of the leftover stuff but I really hope it gets donated to an organization that can put it to good use.
These items are all very minor and didn’t detract from our race experience at all. We loved the race swag, the race and we would definitely do the race again!