Ah there it is… the Christmas Story House at good old Cleveland Street how could I ever forget it…
…and there I am! With that dumb round face and that stupid runner outfit on. Oh but no matter …the inaugural Christmas Story Run had just finished. Lovely, Glorious, Beautiful 5K run, in which the entire runner year revolved. To read about the experience that was the first ever A Christmas Story Run click here.
Days passed and I settled into daily life until my eyes once again gazed upon some digital, electronic, joy. Registration was opening for the 2014 A Christmas Story Run. For weeks I had been scheming to get my hands on a race entry. My fevered brain seethed with the effort to come up with the subtle devices necessary to implant the awesome race medal into the subconscious mind of my girlfriend.
I guess what happened next was inevitable… my girlfriend asked me what races I wanted to do this year. Horrified! I heard myself blurt out “I want an official race entry into the 2014 A Christmas Story Run! ooooh”.
“No… you’ll freeze your ass off” she said… it was the classic girlfriend winter race block!
Who am I kidding we stayed up and registered at midnight on the day race registration opened lol.
This years race was themed “Say Uncle” or “The Year Of The Bullies”. It takes place in Cleveland, Ohio and you have the choice between doing the 5K or 10K race. The run starts at Higbee’s, the famous store from the movie (now a casino) and stretches 3.1 miles to finish at the Christmas Story house. Those running the 10K then turn back and finish where they started. We opted for the 5K again for the simple fact that we want to end up at the house without having to drive or take a shuttle.
Included with the race entry is a long-sleeved cotton Christmas Story shirt, bib, race timing chip, temporary tattoos, and (of course) Ovaltine.
Last year we battled the SEVERE cold and potential frostbite from the horrible 19 degree weather. This year, temperatures would be in the 40s, however, there was rain in the forecast. It rained most of the morning pretty much right up until people started lining up for the race… then it just stopped… and stayed dry for the rest of the morning.
The starting line was moved from last year about a block so we were in front of the Hard Rock Café instead of the square. There were tons of people in costume all over but not quite as unique as last years… mostly bunny costumes, Black Bart, and the elves.
They played the National Anthem and then we were off! Since this is somewhat of a novelty run there are a ton more non-running types participating. These people tend to flock right up to the front of the starting line only to create a massive pile up behind them as people try to get going. This doesn’t bother me… I’m used to it, but there were some hard core runners shouting at the tops of their lungs for people to “get out of the way” and clear a path for them. Yes I understand it’s frustrating but come on, just deal with it and run around them.
My most favorite part of the run itself is going over this bridge in the first mile. The architecture is stunning and you get a great view of the Cleveland skyline as you cross it. I had a shoe malfunction and had to pull over to the side for a quick second to retie it then I was back on track.
Miles were marked with the same fun markers as last year. There were also the fun fact signs scattered throughout the course. Unfortunately it was a very windy morning and most of the signs blew over …not a huge deal for me because I got to see them all last year, but unfortunate for others who did not. This one was strapped to the bridge and held strong though so people could still get a least one chuckle lol.
The finish line was once again right out in front of the house. They moved the finisher corrals down the street to keep things from bunching up like they did last year which was a definite improvement. They were possibly a little too far down because people got confused about what to do and where to go once they had finished.
My time was 34:22
Overall Place 1024/2388
Age Group 58/109
As a runner, I got my medal. There apparently was a shipping error (they announced after the fact) and they ran short on medals so some of the walkers didn’t get one. They were on top of this and recorded the exact time when they ran out so they can mail out medals to everyone using their finishing time via the timing chip. There was a lot of confusion over the medal situation at the race and I’m sure the staff got an earful of complaints but these things sometimes happen at races. (2 other events I was in this year had similar problems) Despite the staffs best efforts… it still sucks reaching the end only to find an empty rack waiting for you. My mom was one of the walkers who got left out and was very upset over it until I had explained to her these things happen and they will eventually make it right.
Some new additions to the neighborhood this year included the “old man’s car” and a fire truck. Also the stand-alone museum was open (I’m not 100% positive if it was there or not last year I never saw it) which housed a ton of props and wardrobe from the movie and even some extremely unique items I wont ruin for you. The gift shop was jam-packed with people but I was determined to pick up some new stuff so I grabbed a basket and battled my way through and managed to get everything I had my eye on. I was surprised to find the prices cheaper than you could get anywhere else… normally it’s the other way around so kudos to them for not charging a premium!
After a very-very-VERY long wait in line… we made it into the house. (The wait was understandable in order to keep the house from getting over-crowded and ruin everyone’s experience) I took plenty of pictures and yes I am, in fact, wearing the exact same outfit that I did last year, thank you for noticing (completely coincidental lol) The GF and I had been in before but it was my mom’s first time so we made sure to have her pose with all the props so she can have all the great memories too.
In the end this is still my favorite race of all. They have already opened registration for next years run which I am more than likely going to enter. I’m sure once the word gets out that my mom had so much fun this year that we will gather a few more to travel with us kind of like a snowball effect. So until then I am going to drift off to sleep with dreams of getting off spectacular hip shots with my Official Red Ryder 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle! And all will be right with the world….