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Race Report: 5Peaks Ugly Christmas Sweater Holiday Trail Run

Posted Dec 03 2013 6:02pm
Try saying that race name 10 times fast, hey?

The Ugly Sweater Run (as it will be known in this post from here on out) was the second event hosted by the 5Peaks Ladies of the Trails group and it was the perfect event for what might end up being my last race of the year.

I'm always game for a costume or themed run and so I was excited to do an ugly sweater run. Only problem was, with the move and just getting home from vacation I was pretty short on time to put something together.

Thankfully, Solana and her husband came to my rescue and offered to pick up an ugly sweater for me on one of their date nights at Value Village. How could I possibly say no when I was offered this as an option?

Big thanks to Mr. Beast for modelling...

The navy blue reindeer poncho really tugged at my heartstrings. It certainly wasn't fashionable but not exactly the ugliest sweater going either - I'd have to add a little bit to ugly it up on race day.

The event was being held in the trails at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and the registration and other festivities in the Learning Lodge on site. I got there early to help set up and knew I was in the right place by the big Salomon tent set up outside.

If there's a Salomon tent you know Solana is somewhere nearby!

Solana had a crew of friends helping set everything up so I joined in and by 8:00 am we were ready to go. I ended up doing registration so I got a first look at all the ugliness as it walked in the door. I was super impressed by some of the get-ups people had on!

Myself, well I may have got a little too focused on the 'ugly' part... Since my sweater was kind of plain, I added a few crocheted Christmas do-dads and embellished my hat with a festive Christmas butterfly. I also had a sweet pair of striped leg warmers and a sparkle skirt so I threw it all on together. I was going for festive but think I just ended up looking homeless...

Maybe not when I stand beside the girl in the house coat!

Anyhow, if you can't dress up like a fool and run around in the bush then what's the point of Christmas, right? Sure. I had to just laugh at myself and not worry about looking too goofy. I have to say, even though the sweaters were ugly, some people just had a way of pulling them off and looking cool, cute or hip. Not me.

Before we headed out, the talented Rob Shaer who photographs all the 5Peaks events took a group shot of us at our finest...

2013 5 Peaks Ugly Sweater-13Photo courtesy of Rob Shaer

The event itself worked like this
  • 4.5km loop on the trails
  • You could run it as many times as you wanted
  • After every lap you signed in
  • After every lap you also got to roll a dice for a chance to win a prize
  • You could also bring something for the baking contest held at the end of the day
After the big rush of people had arrived and registered I headed out for a loop with Solana, the queen Beast in an ugly sweater herself! This was the first time I'd run on these trails before and I loved how pretty they were...



The trail was marked with various Christmas decorations so it was pretty easy to find your way along the route. Since it was a lollipop style of route we also got to see lots of people as they were returning from their first loop. So fun to see all those ridiculous sweaters go by. Rob caught Solana and I both posing and on the run...

2013 5 Peaks Ugly Sweater-49


2013 5 Peaks Ugly Sweater-48My shoes are by far the best part of my outfit!

After the first loop was done we headed back into the lodge to warm up and sample some of the delicious baking. Yum!




Unfortunately, I got a little too comfortable sampling those goodies and visiting with everyone that I started to cool down quite a bit. My reindeer poncho held quite a bit of rain and was getting pretty chilly as I stood around. It was definitely time to head out for another loop.
2013 5 Peaks Ugly Sweater-85After a group photo of course!

For the second loop I ran with different friends and it was great to catch up a little. I had taken off my warm long sleeve top because I had been so hot on the first loop but as we headed out that second time I was pretty darn cold! I knew I'd warm up after a couple minutes but it felt like it took forever!

2013 5 Peaks Ugly Sweater-75


The trail had also gotten pretty muddy and yucky by the time we ran again. Understandably so with all us ugly sweater-wearers out there and the occasional group of mountain bikers too. I was wearing my brand new Mizuno Wave Ascend 8's and I'll admit it was tough to see them all muddy after the first puddle but I got over that quickly.

I haven't worn too many trail shoes but right away I could tell that I loved the Ascends. Although lighter feeling and grippier (is that a word?) than my road shoes, they felt very much like what I'm used to in a Mizuno fit and I liked that. The inside of the shoe felt familiar but the outside of the shoe was more aggressive and definitely responsive to the muddy, rocky trails.

I even customized mine with some sweet, after-market jingle bells...

I love the colours of these shoes...

I only had time for two loops so my Ugly Sweater Holiday Trail Run ended at about 9 km. I was happy to get back into the lodge and sample some more of that yummy Christmas baking. I was even happier to take off my soaking wet poncho and trade it for some warm, dry after-run clothes!

This was definitely another successful event organized by Solana on behalf of 5Peaks and Ladies of the Trails. It is so nice to go to these events and see the community that she has built in just a few short months starting this summer. I'm hoping I can join in on more of the weekly group runs next year...especially if I end up throwing one or more ultras into my calendar for 2014!
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