Yesterday, I participated in The Ugly Sweater Run in Toronto. This was my second 5K event and I was ready to run and have some fun! The family-friendly event was held at Downsview Park in the northwest end of Toronto. The event benefits The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and is a great way to kick off the holiday spirit with an ugly sweater showdown. Not only that, but everyone who is of age gets the chance to guzzle down free beer after the run is over too (unlimited hot chocolate during the course as well)! How many runs can you think of that are so festive? 🙂
The moment I parked my car and walked out towards the field where the registration tables were at 10:30 a.m. on a very sunny Saturday, I could already see lots and lots of people wearing some outrageous and creative sweaters, holiday accessories, and the Ugly Sweater toques. I was very excited to join in the fun and received my own gear after signing in. There were a lot more people than I thought there would be. Many fun homemade sweaters decorated with Santas and sleigh bells and ribbons all in Christmas colours were walking around. There were also matching outfits across couples or groups of friends and even babies in strollers were donned in holiday gear.
After I met up with my team, we were ready to start on the course at 11 a.m. My friend Cynthia was so creative and named our team the RUNdeers! What a fun name. That makes me wish after the fact that we worn reindeer antlers too! As we lined up at the starting line to head off, everyone was so excited and there was fun holiday music playing in the background. Once the guy on the loud speakers announced it was time, we began!
I didn’t do any training to prepare myself for this 5K, but having just recently completed one last month and being active with lots of Zumba and other fitness sessions lately, I was confident of my ability to finish it. It was the most perfect day for jogging that morning. It was 11 a.m., the sun was out and bright in the clear sky, there was just enough wind to not feel toasty while running in a sweater, and everyone was moving along in great spirits. A lot of people opted to walk since it was an untimed race and it was more about having fun than competing. I wanted to challenge myself and ran the majority of the path. The only times I stopped were to partake in some hot chocolate and snap some pictures when I got to the top of the big hill! It felt so good to cross the finish line. 🙂
We took some more pictures when we had all crossed the finish line and lined up for some free beer. Everybody who is of age gets two free beers. It was funny how as soon as everybody was completed the race, the warm and toasty sunshine that we had during the course was gone; the sun knew we were done and hid away behind the clouds. It grew more and more chilly as the remaining Ugly Sweater participants finished their beers and partook in some free giveaways.
It was such a fun event and apparently this was the first year that they have done this in Canada! The event organizers came all the way up from Denver in the states where they have hosted this for the past 12 years. I’m happy that I joined the RUNdeers for some holiday fun! Maybe next year I will participate again and wear an uglier sweater. 🙂