It started with a Facebook post as most things do with this group of running friends:
“Hey, did you guys see they have a ‘virtual run’ option for the A Christmas Story run in Cleveland. We should do one here!”
Responses began dinging in every few seconds:
“Let’s do it!”
“Always wanted to do it, but didn’t want to drive there…so, yes!”
“LOVE A Christmas Story: You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”
We learn that the virtual race is $45 and includes the official race bib, T-shirt and finisher’s medal. That’s great, but someone suggests we just pay $25 and do our own thing — make our own shirts, bibs and “medals”— instead of sending our money to Cleveland.
A few members of the group take charge. They plan a date, location & courses (5K & 10K option), another collects money and orders the T-shirts, another prints customized race bibs.
And that’s how 23 grown adults came to be at 9 a.m. at Frontier Park on a cold December Saturday morning dressed in pink bunny suits, leg lamp skirts, elf costumes, and Santa beards. I wear a a 1950s-era plaid winter “Ralphie” hat, a “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” T-shirt and bring a toy rifle (which I do not carry on the run, lest I make Erie’s finest nervous running through town with a gun).
Photographer & running friend Matt Kleck volunteers to follow us around and document the fun. Others show up just to see the spectacle.
After securing various costumes (how do elves RUN in those shoes?) and taking photos, we set off down the bayfront trail, loop around Liberty Park and Dobbin’s Landing and head up Holland to 6th Street and back to Frontier Park, laughing all the way.
Cars beeped, people yelled and waved. We waved back, stopped for photos, and hammed it up for Matt:
Our finishers “medals”:
After the run, we gather at Romolo’s coffee shop for all manner of 500-calorie hot drinks (I recommend the mint mocha), generously paid for by an “anonymous” friend, though we all know who our secret Santa was.
I wander over to the store side and wind up spending $30 on various stocking stuffers and curse my friends for introducing me to this house of chocolatey heaven.
In the end, our little A Christmas Story fun run raises more than $350 for Grady’s Decision, a local nonprofit organization, which helps families of prematurely-born babies care for their little miracles.
Do you love A Christmas Story? Check out this fun trivia about the Christmas classic.
About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”