I can hardly imagine a more festive way to finish off 12 races in 12 months than participating in my grand finale: “A Christmas Story” run in Cleveland, Ohio.
My daughter and I (along with over 5,000 runners) participated in the race on Dec. 3. The route led from the main shopping centre in downtown Cleveland to the iconic home in the 1983 holiday classic movie “A Christmas Story.” The home has since been restored to its original movie glory.
The race brought with it a buzzing holiday spirit right from the start when we checked in to the hotel on Friday evening. We picked up our race kits on Saturday morning when we got our picture taken with the actor who played “Randy Parker” in the movie. As part of our race kit, we got a long-sleeved shirt with “I can’t put my arms down” written down the sleeve– a reference to the scene in the movie when Randy was so bundled up that he couldn’t put his arms down.
As we lined up for the race, there were runners everywhere, both in front of us and behind us. When the race started, we were excited to see the sights of Cleveland, including the Quicken Loans stadium, otherwise known as “The Q” where the Cleveland Cavaliers play basketball as well as Progressive Fields where their baseball team plays. From downtown Cleveland, the route continued to the Tremont neighbourhood where “The Christmas Story” house awaited in all of its glory.
Almost everyone in the race was dressed in festive gear or in costume related to the movie (think: leg lamps and large pink bunnies). The 10K runners looped back at the Christmas Story House which was the 5K finishing point. As we crossed the finish line, we were greeted by volunteers handing out hot drinks of Ovaltine.
The race registration included free tour of the house so we came back later to take it all in as a family. We hid under the kitchen sink like Randy did in the movie, heard little facts about the filming of the iconic Christmas movie, oh, and we bought ourselves a leg lamp of our very own.