‘Tis the season for ugly Christmas sweaters! I’ve run an Ugly Christmas Sweater Race before, in Syracuse. This time, they brought the series to Rochester for the first time. The race took place in Honeoye Falls, about 15 minutes from where I live. You could pick up your race bib the day before at various locations (running stores) or the day of the race at Flaherty’s Irish Pub. They also had Christmas sweaters you could buy for $10 to wear.
The race starting point was a festive location – decorated with a Christmas tree and lights throughout, as well as a fireplace. I also liked that there were real bathrooms you could use inside. I got to the race about 45 minutes ahead of time, and parked in the back parking lot. There, I met up with my friend Robin. She is battling a running injury and was planning to run/walk.
As people filed in, it was great to see all the sweaters. People are so creative and clever! I saw an amazing Elf on the Shelf, as well as a group of people dressed as toys from the Land of the Misfit Toys, among many others.
Everyone was in good spirits as we headed to the starting line. Thankfully, the weather was so much warmer than the frigid race I ran on Thanksgiving. This time, it was in the mid 30s at the start of race time, as opposed to being 12 degrees.
Around 1 pm, we took off. The course ran through the town of Honeoye Falls. Basically, you kept making a right on the course. There were signs marking 1k, 2k, 3k, etc. There were two water stops, but I think the first was unofficial, because I saw people handing out wine, lol! Overall, the course was flat, with slightly downhill parts in sections. The final turn brought you to a sidewalk, and then you ran to the finish, which was right by a waterfall in town. Being a big waterfall fan, I loved that.
I was able to pick up my pace and shave a few minutes off my previous race time (37.03 minutes, 11:56 min mile pace, 189/267, 116/181 females, 12/21 in my age/gender range). After the race, you could head inside for free chili and bread. I had an out of town guest visiting, so I was not able to stay for the post race festivities, although I believe your bib got you other discounts (beer, food, etc).
The race was a benefit for the Honeoye Falls-Mendon Volunteer Ambulance Corp. Because I did not hang around, I did not see who won the awards or the ugly sweater contest. The local media was also at the race, so they ended up getting some nice press for this event, which is always a good thing – especially for first year races.
I think this inaugural Rochester event was a success and will grow even more next year. People love ugly sweaters, and it’s a great way to ring in the holiday season. The swag was great too – you got an Ugly Sweater hat, jingle bells and finish medal, which you could easily turn into a Christmas tree ornament.
This was my last race of the season. I know there are other local races before the end of the year, but that’s it for me. I still run 5-7 times a week. Hopefully, I will be thinner and faster in the New Year, so I can continue to improve on my pace.
Until next time, see you on the roads!
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Weather: Mid 30s, slight breeze, cloudy
Location: Honeoye Falls, NY
Results: Race Results
Amenities: Real bathrooms inside, ample parking
Waterstops: one official, one unofficial
Media Coverage/Press: WROC TV 8 Story (video) , WHAM 13 Story
More Info: Facebook Event Page FB photo album from race day