Tis the season to be jolly. So in the spirit of the holidays, I give you 8 tips learned on my first Santa run:
- There will be wardrobe malfunctions. From head to toe. Whether it’s the hat, beard, belt, coat or pants—or all of the above. Santa obviously was not a runner and his outfit is not optimized for speed or comfort on foot. Lesson: Just go with it. You’re Santa.
2. When Santa loses his/her pants mid-run (which I witnessed multiple times) thank God in each case, he/she had running tights on underneath. One little drawstring held these red pants up, or in some cases, did not. Lesson: Always always put tights on under your Santa suit. Enough said. (No action photos required–use your imagination here.)
3. Santa suits are not moisture wicking. In fact, whether there is weather, or sweat—either way, it’s not good. About 400 of us put these suits to the ultimate test during light rain. Lesson: Santa suits ABSORB moisture and may become heavier, mid-run. Lots of layers are not needed. Unless temps are in the single digits.
4. Santa beards are super silky on one side but super scratchy on the other. Beards are supposedly all the rage, but honestly it’s more like beards induce rage. Lesson: This is why, within the first minute of the race, nearly everyone pulled their beautiful white beards on elastic, down around their necks. Which really wasn’t comfortable as a necklace either. Especially by the end of the race because they were all wet. It looked like we were all wearing small dead white animals around our necks. Weird.
5. Belts are not normal or natural while running. Lesson: Some dude in a Rudolph suit was super speedy and finished in 2nd place—without a belt. Rudolph aside, some of the top 10 Santa runners were NOT wearing the entire suit or belt. Just sayin’—they should be disqualified for unfair advantage. A Santa t-shirt and shorts? Hey, it’s a SANTA race and if you’re not wrestling with your suit and wearing a belt for the entire race, sorry, you shouldn’t get the glory. Pseudo Santas.
6. Santa suits are super linty. Lesson: If you have time, pre—wash your Santa suit. Probably by itself, so you don’t turn your laundry red. And don’t shrink it in the dryer. Without washing, Santa’s pants will completely SPRINKLE your running tights with sparkly red lint. And no, it doesn’t magically fall off while running. I tried that.
7. Velour between the thighs may cause issues. Lack of running speed is just one of them. Lesson: See above: Always wear tights underneath.
8. All of the above issues—and probably a few more—will make you laugh so hard, you are guaranteed to have trouble running. Don’t attempt a PR in a Santa suit. And along with laughing… the most important Lesson: Use the porta potty before attempting a Santa run—and allow plenty of time to put yourself back together in there.
Hope you enjoyed this fun race recap! It was my 16th race of (hopefully) 50 races for 50 causes while I’m 50.
Race #16: The Santa Shuffle 5K, City Island, Harrisburg, with about 400 Santas
The Cause: This first-ever race (Dec. 14, 2019) was sponsored by my favorite local running store, Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg. And it’s much more than a great store. The Fleet Feet Running Club has taught me so much over the past several years and introduced me to some of the best running friends I’d ever hope to meet. Owners Shelby and Fred Joslyn are incredibly kind and talented; knowledgeable about all things running. They help set a friendly, welcoming tone for a thriving running community in the greater Harrisburg, PA area. They support existing Central PA races, and they are slowly adding and growing their own Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg races within central PA’s running calendar. Their Christmas gift to local runners like me? The chance to laugh and run with friends while dressed like Santa along the Susquehanna River on a foggy, drizzly Saturday morning. The memories will linger for a long time–just like the red lint on my black tights. 🙂
More scenes from the Santa Shuffle!
Thanks so much for reading Inspired Miles! I’m going to take a little break for Christmas, but I’m already planning out my 2020 races… I have 34 more races to go.
If you know of a great race for a meaningful cause, feel free to comment below with your suggestions. Celebrating my 50th year by putting more purpose into my steps and helping others has been extremely rewarding–and in the case of this race–just plain fun.
I appreciate all the love, support and encouragement–thank you so much. Joy and inspiration are contagious! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! XO
By Karen Hendricks