Spreading Christmas Cheer, One Run at a Time…

me and kahluaI wish I could take credit for the start of this, but two years ago I was invited to a challenge on DailyMile (sort of a Facebook for endurance athletes of all abilities). One of the members on the site, Chris N., has been running with a Santa hat every Christmas Eve since 1998. He started a challenge on the site to try and get more people to join in the fun and help spread the Christmas cheer. I’m not sure when he first started the challenge on DailyMile, but each year it grows in popularity.

I did it for the first time in 2011, and was completely amazed at what happened on my Christmas Eve run. I bought a cheapo Santa hat for $1, put on a red wind breaker, whiteIMG_20131224_134937_278 gloves, white socks and my red Vibram Five Fingers. Normally, drivers of cars ignore and/or are completely unaware of runners or treat them with downright avarice, but not on this run. It started with one smile and friendly wave, but continued to grow from there. By the end I had received dozens of thumbs up, waves, smiles, and friendly honks, that my Christmas spirit grew 3 sizes that day… I had so much fun in fact, that I donned my Santa hat, and went for another run Christmas Day, and received and spread even more Christmas cheer than I had on Christmas Eve.

Santa hat run 2012I put the hat away after the Christmas Day run, and didn’t bring it out again until the next year’s challenge came around. Christmas Eve 2012 I again donned my Santa hat and set out for another run, but in a new location. This year was in a much more rural location than the one in 2011, so I wasn’t expecting much from it. I had a long run planned for the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve?) and so decided to start the run a day early figuring that longer I was out, the more cheer I could spread. With the thinner population, I thought this might equal out with last year. Cars were few, and far between, but I was met with even more enthusiasm and cheer than the previous year. There may still have been fewer people, despite running over 4 times as far, but the percentage of people cheered was much higher (though I failed to post about it).  I ran with the Santa hat again Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. I saw 2012HuffUltra50K684almost no one those two runs, but still had lots of fun.

Several days later I donned it one last time for the Huff 50k. With my full beard, redjacket, white gloves and Santa hat, I was definitely a hit out on the course. I had a lot of fun with the other racers and volunteers throughout the race. Entertained myself the last few miles asking the volunteers if they had seen a team of reindeer run by, and exclaiming I was getting sick of these reindeer games ditching the old guy in the woods…

893043_10201719952055457_195386921_oThis year, I’m at it again. But, I decided to expand the time frame. I actually did my first Santa Hat run 4 days before Christmas, another run 3 days before, and another 2 days before. I will also do a run today, Christmas Day, and plan on running with the Santa hat all the way to New Year’s Eve (and New Year’s Day if possible). Again this year, it has been a blast so far, and the response has been great. I’m in a more populated area again this year, and the response so far has been great. I looking forward to the rest of my planned Santa hat runs.

I’m hoping that by sharing this that I can encourage some of you to come out and join in the fun. If you are on DailyMile then join the challenge. If you’re not, then don’t let that stop you. Grab your Santa hat and go out for a run anyway. The distance and pace aren’t important, just go out with your hat, smile, have fun, and help spread a little Christmas cheer…IMG_20131224_134651_229



About Douglas Sawyer, MS, ATC

I am an athletic trainer who is also a very avid athlete. My first love is running, but I also love cycling and triathlons and many other activities. I'm not a swimmer though, I just don't drown for 2.4 miles... As a athletic trainer I work with sports injuries. I currently work at a school with athletes in 7th-12th grade in a wide variety of sports. I can be found on twitter at two different names: @IronmanLongRunr - where I tweet about run, bike, tri, & more @Longrunr - where I tweet about athletic training
Image | This entry was posted in 50k, Athlete, Athletics, Barefoot Running, Christmas, five fingers, forefoot running, midfoot running, minimalist, minimalist running, Race, Running, Santa hat, Sports, Training, vff, vibram, vibram five fingers, vibrams, Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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