If you drove down highway 66 this morning, you were likely to see a couple of thousand Santas running and walking down the road. You weren’t seeing things! It was the Santa Hustle Smokies 5K and Half Marathon races.
A colleague talked me into running again. I have participated in the 5K with my sister, niece and nephews on two occasions, but have not done it in a few years. When the forecast predicted 19 degrees at race time, I had decided to stay home. However, the Lord showed us great favor this morning when I saw that it was actually 28 degrees. I knew that when the sun came up it would get warmer so I suited up and took off for the Sevierville Convention Center parking garage.
This screenshot shows new things that participants got this year. Socks and medals are new. The Dri Fit Santa shirt is comfortable and fun to wear to work or the gym. Love these goodies! In the 5K, you run from the Wilderness Resort to Starbucks and Ruby Tuesdays on highway 66, turn around, and come back. The half marathon goes to Pigeon Forge, near Starbucks, then returns.
Participants are encouraged to dress up in a holiday style. I saw her running with this outfit. There was plenty of room inside for her arms and it may have blocked the cold breeze. So fun!
There is a competition for costumes and it is fun to see what runners can race in. This couple looked great!
These tiny ‘reindeer’ were popular with children and adults alike.
There is a DJ playing Christmas music and announcing the line up times to race. Very festive!
This photo captures the first seconds of the race. I have tried to embed a video link below for the opening seconds of the half marathon runners.
If you are going to run in freezing temps, it is good to have a few extra things to wear. I went to a local sporting goods store and bought a fleece neck warmer and special gloves.
The neck warmer made a huge difference!
This race provides a lot of good treats post-race to recover energy. My favorite thing was the two toasters warming Thomas English muffins for peanut butter and/or jelly. Nice!
Little Vols are fans of the race too!
Fun to see colleagues at the race. Jennifer and Brittany had a great time today with their families.
Ed and Barbara OBrien have hiked every trail in the Smokies AND do 5K races. They are unstoppable!
Milk and cookies for a post-race Christmas treat.
There are lots of photo opportunities and bragging rights here. Heidi and I broke our personal records!
Every race usually has at least one, cool, ‘chill bump’ moment. The picture above was ‘it’ for me. Heidi and I were waiting to cross the street to go to the parking garage when we stopped to watch some half marathoners coming up the street. They were some of the first to return. The guy above in the yellow-green shirt ran by us so fast and he must have been in his 80s. He was so fast! You can see the young man behind him running who must have been 60 years younger. Respect!
I think that these ladies said that they came from Knoxville and Sevierville for the Santa Hustle.
They make the race fun in every way. Heidi is going to send this pic to her son. He is a college student in Texas right now and will be happy to see his mom having fun and active.
Fun photo with Rudolph.
All finishers got some good souvenirs this year.
See you in 2018 when Santas are running out and about in Sevierville.