This is a recap of my personal experience running the race. If you’re more interested in just the nitty gritty details, check out my BibRave review here. Don’t forget to help your fellow runners by reviewing all your races on BibRave.com!
I was really excited to run this race, because I had to DNS last year due to my foot injury. For this race, you get a Santa suit complete with pants, coat, hat, and beard, and you’re required to wear them to run. It’s really funny every year to walk around downtown Burlington and see gangs of Santas roaming all over the place.
I parked about a half a mile away from the restaurant, because I knew that traffic would be a cluster due to lots of people and road closures, but since it was Sunday, parking was free at all the meters, so that was nice. There was a DJ and music, photo opps and a coffee station, and Ri Ra’s was open so that people could use the bathrooms or get out of the cold.
The race course is decent; you run down Main Street, so you get some nice lake views, and then up Battery Street, which is sort of Burlington’s own “Heartbreak Hill” during the Vermont City Marathon. Then up Pearl Street, over South Willard, and looping back to Ri Ra’s down Main and Church Street.
Within the first half mile, I was having issues with my Santa pants, and I wasn’t the only one. SO MANY PEOPLE were struggling with these stupid pants. They’re really basic felt pants with a drawstring, and if you don’t tie them just right, they’ll be falling off your butt in no time. Next year, I will definitely just wear some festive tights instead, because those fricken pants drove me crazy. I had to stop twice to adjust them, and I know I looked ridiculous for most of the race. I also plan to add some velcro to the “coat”, which is basically just a robe with a tie, and it was flopping open most of the race as well.
I knew I wasn’t in “racing” shape, because I haven’t been doing any speed work, and I was tired from streaking, so I just tried to have a good time, and other than the stupid pants, I did ok.
My official chip time was 31:24, which, considering I had to stop twice, isn’t too bad. Right after finishing, I got a full-sized bottle of water. As part of the registration fee, each runner got a free Irish breakfast, but I didn’t actually get mine. Due to the number of runners (over 1500), breakfast was held at Memorial Auditorium, which is about half a mile away from Ri Ra’s, and I just couldn’t be bothered. I had my Mary Poppins audition that afternoon, so I needed to go home to shower, change, warm up, and get ready.
This is definitely a fun themed race, and I plan to do it again next year, especially because once you have the “official” Santa suit, you can register for $10 less. The biggest drawback in my mind is the cheapo felt Santa suit. I understand that this event is a fundraiser for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta so they don’t want to spend a ton of money, but running in the suit SUCKS. I would even pay a slightly higher registration fee if instead of the coat and pants, runners got a nice long-sleeved tech tee or half zip. As it is, event t-shirts were sold separately for $15, and they were boring black. I’ll never wear the Santa suit outside of the race, and it would be nice to have a nice souvenir shirt like the Santa Hustle races do.
Have you ever done a Santa or Christmas-themed race? Did you costume hinder your running?