The Santa Stroll has been going on for a few years. I last ran it in 2015 when it was still only a 5k race. This was the first year of the event having a 10k race. The race is held in Downtown Elkhart, IN. The race supports Santa’s Pantry which is a pay it forward organization that operates year round.
Registration was done online or by mail. You could register early for $25. There was also a family rate that you could take advantage of as well. When you registered, you could chose between receiving a Santa suit or a race shirt. I went with the race shirt since I still had the Santa suit from 2015 and I knew I would not be running in the suit. Packet pickup was available in downtown Elkhart the night before or on race day.
The course, just like every race held in Elkhart, seems to change every year. The city can be difficult to work with when planning a race route, and then that’s still not sure thing that the course will work out on race day. More on that later.
The race starts in front of Elks Lodge in town and quickly makes its way to the towns bike paths and to the north side of town. A significant issue to the mornings race was the snow that started early in the morning and throughout the race. This created a slippery course that was out of the race directors hands. Not much she could do about it. Another issue, due to the snow, was that Welfield Gardens, which the course was supposed to run through, decided about 5 minutes before the race started that runners would not be allowed to run through due to the snow. This probably cut out about half a mile off the course. Lastly, someone from the public, decided to remove, destroy, or hide some of the race signs from the course. This caused a lot of confusion from the runners especially on the second half of the race. Unfortunately, the volunteers didn’t seem to know the course at all. When all was said and done, i ran 5 miles. Before all the confusion, I was in 5th Place overall. No one passed me, but I think I ended up in 8th. Guessing a couple runners ran less than I did.
One of the best things about this race was the post race breakfast. All the food was donated to the race, and there was a very wide spread of delicious foods.
After a little while, awards were presented to the top 3 overall and first in each age group. Winner received $75 gift card to Fleet Feet, second received $50, and third received $25. Age group winners received a plush Santa. Everyone received a finishers medal. Unfortunately I did not get in the top 3 overall but did win the 35-39 age division.
There were also door prizes given away, at least 60 of them. Prizes ranged from coloring books for kids, to gift certificates, to an XBox One (is that the latest system? I really have no clue any more), to an airplane ride with Santa. Somehow, Chloe won the airplane ride with Santa.
Overall, there were a lot of factors that were out of the race directors hands. I look forward to coming back in 2018. It is a fun race and really i didn’t hear people complaining about the issues with the course.