Tacky Light Run

IMG_20131215_154957_703Kurt and I had been pretty excited about this race for a while. It’s a 6K run through a neighborhood all decked out with tacky Christmas lights. Participants are encouraged to wear tacky holiday attire. The more lights, jingle and just plain tackiness, the better.

Kurt had ordered all kinds of lighted things for us to wear, and we’d made a trip to Goodwill to pick up tacky red and green outfits. We were all set for a festive, fun evening.

Then we checked the weather. A week out, they were calling for rain. But the forecast is never right, especially so far out.

For a while it looked like we would get the bulk of the rain in the morning, and it would taper off in time for the race.

The day of the race, the forecast changed. Now they were calling for light rain in the morning, changing to a more steady rain in the afternoon and evening hours, and tapering off by midnight.

The race was scheduled for 6pm rain, snow or shine.

It was raining pretty hard as we drove to Richmond. We parked at the community college, changed clothes in the car, opened our umbrellas and made a dash for the shuttle bus.

My feet were soaked by the time we got to the bus. Without my coat, I was freezing.

It was a short (warm and delightful) bus ride to the event site. Once we arrived, I didn’t want to get off the bus.

IMG_20131214_163903_132But Santa was there to greet us.

We made our way over to packet pick-up and got our numbers. Each participant was also given a couple of glow sticks and a light-up bracelet.

We then needed to attach our race numbers to our shirts, which was impossible to do holding umbrellas. We looked around for a place out of the rain, but there wasn’t a public tent. We eventually found a vendor tent without anybody in it, and ducked in there. The vendor came back after a few minutes, but he was very nice and told us to stay as long as we needed to. Another lady came by and told us that we should get some pre-race cookies and Starbucks coffee. We found the cookies, (and each ate one) but didn’t see the coffee. We did find a vendor selling coffee, though. I bought a cup to warm me up.

We soon realized that we’d arrived too early. There wasn’t anything to do but walk around to try to stay as warm as possible.

A lot of work had been put into the event site. The lights and decorations were pretty spectacular. There were a lot of great photo spots. I tried to take pictures, but I had to keep taking my gloves off, and it was hard to keep my phone dry.  All the pictures came out blurry.

If it wasn’t raining, it would have been a lot of fun. Even in the rain, it was still cool to see everybody decked out in gaudy Christmas costumes and lights.

tackylightrun2013One group of participants had made a sleigh. They were all dressed as the reindeer pulling the sleigh, and a dummy dressed as grandma was sticking out from underneath. It was really creative and cool! I thought it was something the race directors had put together. I didn’t realize until later that it was just a costume. Those reindeer definitely should have won a prize!

IMG_20131214_173850_921Sorry about the blurry picture. If you look closely you can sort of see grandma’s feet hanging out from the back of the sleigh.

As we lined up for the race start, I was also impressed with how many people had come out to run in pretty much the worst possible weather conditions.

Once we started running, I was even more impressed by all the neighborhood people who were outside cheering for all the runners. There were so many lights and people lining the streets playing Christmas music and cheering. Lots of kids were holding their hands out for high-fives from the runners.

It was such a cool experience to run through the streets in the dark and to look ahead and see hundreds of runners all lit up, and house after house with awesome lights and decorations.

I soon discovered that it’s really hard to run in a wig that kept sliding off my head, and about 8 strands of lights and beads around my neck that kept bouncing.

There was a cookie and water stop during the race. It was the first cookie I’d ever tried to eat during a run. It was yummy, but not very easy to eat.

We stopped for a picture in front of a stretch of particularly brightly lit houses. Unfortunately, none of my pictures came out very good.

IMG_20131214_182413_585I had taken my wig and sunglasses off during the run, so we stopped again a little before the finish to put them back on. There was a long, lit-up chute everybody got to run through in the final stretch.

IMG_20131214_172801_524Santa was standing at the finish giving all the runners a high-five as they finished.

IMG_20131214_184835_101The medals were gingerbread houses.

IMG_20131215_155243_046They make great tree ornaments.

IMG_20131215_155430_079I didn’t wear my Garmin, and I don’t think the race was timed at all.

After we finished, we picked up our t-shirts, got some water, went to the post-race food tent (more cookies!), and took a spin around all the vendor booths again.

So, the food offered before the race? Cookies. During the race? Cookies. After the race? Cookies. I felt like we were in some crazy Christmas Land where everybody eats Christmas cookies (and nothing but Christmas cookies) all day long. Sort of like Buddy in the movie Elf.

We picked up our checked bags, which had been placed in plastic bags, but then set out on tables in the rain. The dry clothes we were planning to change into were not exactly dry.

We really wanted to stay for a while and maybe catch the awards ceremony, but we were both wet, cold and tired, so we headed back to the shuttle bus.

The Tacky Christmas Light Run was a fun holiday event. We can’t wait to do it next year, (hopefully NOT in the rain!).

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4 Responses to Tacky Light Run

  1. Meagan says:

    They should use that first picture of you and Kurt to advertise the race for next year! You two look great! This race looks like so much fun. I love Christmas lights and I would definitely love seeing everyone in costume at the race. It’s almost worth the 4 hour drive to Richmond. Almost. Maybe we could make a weekend out of it, though?

    Your medal looks great on the Christmas tree as an ornament!

  2. I’ve really been trying to curtail my comments, but I have to post one here. My wife and I ran this race with a group of friends. It was a miserable experience – we froze before the race, sweated during it, and then froze again afterwards. I can put up with being cold OR wet; both at once is misery.
    That being said, I LOVE Christmas lights and the course was loaded with them. Homeowners endured the wet and cold to cheer on the runners and nearly everyone on the course was dressed in a festive costume. And of course, my sweet tooth was impressed with the abundance of cookies! Overall, the weather tried, but failed, to dampen everyone’s spirits.

    • You don’t have to curtail your comments. I don’t get all that many and they make life interesting. Besides, it sounds like we’ve all been in many of the same places! You’re right, that first year at the Tacky Light run was absolutely MISERABLE weather-wise. Cold rain. Even colder rain than at the Frostbite 15k, if I remember correctly…

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