Pay it Forward 5k Santa Stroll

After at least 1 year off, the Pay it Forward 5k Santa Stroll run was back in Elkhart, IN. The race benefits Santa’s Pantry which is  an organization which receives no government support, and focuses on serving the community without receiving anything in return. The organization also has 4H programs working with youth on serving their community as well.


Registration was $35 a person, $10 for kids  12 and under, and $50 for families. Registration was easy online or you could mail in your registration.  The price was a little steep to run as an individual but not too bad if you have other family members running as well as we did. 


All adults who register for the race received a Santa suit to run in (beard not included) and kids received a Santa hat.   

I have said before that I like it when races do things at times other than race shirts.  For this race, I would rather have a race shirt. I chose not to wear the suit for a couple reasons. 1. It was 55 degrees, 2. It didn’t look  all that comfortable and 3. I don’t like running in costumes.  

 Race course

  The course started right outside the Knights of Columbus building. You start heading east right towards the Elkhart River before making a right turn followed by an immediate left turn onto a pedestrian bridge across the Elkhart river.  From there until about the last tenth of a mile, you run along the river walk/sidewalks.  

 Course map.  Good luck following it along.

The first .3 miles is filled with narrow sidewalks at points and very tight turns. If the corse stays the same in the future and you decide to run it, be patient in the early stages until you get past the first .3.  After that, you can start racing. 

The course continues along the Elkhart River, crosses the bridge over the St. Joseph River and onto Island Park.  You run 1.75 laps around Island Park before taking another bridge off the Island in the Northeast side of the Island.  While in the Island, you could take advantage of hot chocolate and cookies and the courses only water station. I did take advantage of a cup of water but did pass on the hot chocolate and cookies.  

After getting off the island, you run west along Beardsly Ave along the sidewalk and then a left turn into Main Street.  After crossing the bridge over the St. Joseph River, you got back into the bike paths and start winding along the river again. Just after mile 2, you can take advantage of the candy cane aid station.  

After crossing another pedestrian bridge, you start heading south along the Elkhart river where you already came from.  Instead of crossing the next pedestrian bridge across the river to the finish, you continue along the river for an out and back section. Then you take the first bridge across the river and return to the start/finish line. 

It’s not a bad course.  It was a very well marked course with plenty of volunteers.  I would have preferred the course was on the roads and eliminate all the tight turns, but they used what they had to work with.

So how did my race go?

Not sure why, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  My college teammate, Bruce Faltynski, and I went out slower than I did last week on a similar course as last week, but I didn’t feel as strong.  After the first mile Bruce dropped me and I couldn’t respond.  My legs just didn’t feel it.  He would have beaten me anyways but would have liked to make more of s race out of it. Bruce took first place, I came in a distant second.  

 Possibly my worst race photo.


If you won the race, you got a medal and a $25 gift card to Fleet Feet. Age group winners (top 3) received very generic ribbons provided by the timing company.   

 I would definitely say this is an area of needing improved.  

 My reaction to the ribbon. 

Post Race Food

The post race spread of food was actually quiet impressive.  

 Cookies, subs, chips, candybars, fruit, donuts, granola bars, and other goodies.  Man I are awful following this race. 

PR in the family

Since there was a family price for this race, I ran my race, Tina pushed Derek and also ran the first part of the race with Chloe.  The plan was for me to finish, run the course in reverse, and finish with Chloe while Tina ran ahead.  After I finished, I started heading back.  Surprisingly to me, I only made it back to the two mile mark before finding them.  Tina had told me that Chloe had only take 1 or 2 very short walk (including a cookie stop) breaks. I started running with Chloe while Tina took off. Chloe finished with only 2 very short walk breaks and finished in a new PR of 39:02! 

Overall it’s an ok race but for a very good cause.  Would love to see some changes made for next year.  Deffinetly some room for improvement.  


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