Late this fall, my friend Tina asked me and a few other friends if we wanted to participate in a holiday-themed 5k in Seneca Falls, called "It's a Wonderful Run." It's been happening for several years and I've always thought about doing it too late, so I was excited to decide to do it!
The town of Seneca Falls, NY is rumored to be the inspiration for the town of Bedford Falls in It's a Wonderful Life. The WHOLE town really gets into this event!
Tina, Carrie, Sarah (all friends I know from Wednesday Women's bike rides) drove up to Seneca Falls together a few Saturdays ago. We had agreed to dress in holiday attire, and Tina bought light-up Christmas light necklaces for all of us. It was really cold that day, but luckily not snowing or raining. The event draws thousands of people so we knew we'd need to get there early to get signed in, but then would stand around for a long time before starting to actually run. So...we all dressed really warm. We knew we'd be too hot with all those clothes on during the 5k, but, it wasn't worth it to be freezing for an hour or two while standing around before it started.
I was totally impressed by how much people dressed up for this thing. The handful of people who were there in simply running attire (not holiday themed) looked like the silly ones. Tons of people had fleece one-piece pajamas on (like elf outfit, or reindeer, or Christmas print). Lots of holiday leggings and tights, Santa suits, people with lights all over them. Some people even ran in a full costume - one person dressed like a Christmas tree, but it was a costume like you'd see at Halloween (like a hot dog costume), but a Christmas tree. I don't know how he was running in that!
There was a band of a bunch of older men playing who were all dressed up and playing peppy music which was really cute. We roamed around for a while and eventually lined up around the 9 minute mile marker. As soon as the "race" started we realized the mile markers didn't mean anything. We probably walked the first 3 minutes because it was too crowded and slow to do anything else but walk.
Eventually we broke into a slow jog. There were spectators lining the streets along the whole course, which was cool. Lots of them had brought their backyard fire pits out to the curb and had fires going, some were playing music, some were having parties on their front lawn. Everyone was in a really good mood and having fun - definitely not a serious race at all.
There were a few stations along the way where spectators set up shot stations. We stopped at one and had a shot of something that I think was cinnamon flavored but kind of tasted like cough syrup. Later we stopped and did a Shot Ski (I don't remember what kind of alcohol was in that one) and then lastly there was a peppermint shot thrown in there before mile 3. First time I've ever done that while running! Good thing we weren't moving too fast or working too hard!
As expected, I got super hot while running because I had so many clothes on, but, when we finished I was glad I had them because I cooled off quickly. I didn't mention, this starts around 4:30pm, so by the time we finished it was totally dark and pretty cold.
In a nearby building there were tons of bagels, bananas, and cookies for after the race. We snacked a bit and thought about going out in Seneca Falls for a drink or dinner. As part of the race entry, you get a free beer at a local bar. But, the town was packed - this is a huge event in town and it's like a party all day long. So instead we drove back to Ithaca and had dinner at Viva.
All in all, it was a really fun, silly time. I would definitely recommend this 5k, I was smiling the whole time we were running. Although if you are the type of person who gets annoyed by people walking or stopping in front of you, you might not like this. As I said, it wasn't a serious race at all, unless you were in the very, very front of the whole group. But, I'm not a serious racer, so, I had fun!