So, I’m not sure what has me thinking about Christmas, but we will call this Christmas in July perhaps. I was looking up races to run down the road and realized I’ve done this race several times and have no race report about it. The Rotary Lights 5k is one of my favorite races.
First of all, I LOVE Christmas time. Like love, love, love. I start listening to Christmas music in early November, lights are a must in nearly every room, and we leave our tree up until at minimum the end of January on purpose. In reality it is often up until March because we end up not having time to take it down. My mother cannot believe this! Oh, the needles! I should add we always have a real tree, too. Fraser furs really don’t drop that many needles if cared for properly-even in March. Then we burn it at our annual pool party in August. The flames are usually a good 30 or 40 feet.
Second-the race is one of the only in December. It takes place in one of my favorite parks that is all decked out for the holidays. How decked out? Well, they claim to be the largest display of lights in the midwest with over 2,000,000 lights. Each year it seems to get bigger. In addition to lights, there is music, reindeer, santa, hot chocolate, a live nativity scene, and Christmas trees decorated by community organizations around the park. All of this right along the mighty Mississippi River.
Third-the course. You run on the paths that go along the Mississippi before taking the torch lit bike path out along the La Crosse River Trail and then loop back to Riverside Park under a tunnel of lights and past the displays of lights. They serve hot chocolate at the finish.
Fourth-the weather. You never know what the weather will bring. The first year it was run in blizzard conditions and the next year it was sunny and 20 degrees. The third year I signed up I actually drew the line. We had received 20+ inches of snow the day before and the windchill that Sunday was -20 degrees. Last year I ran a 10 miler with giant, wet snowflakes coming down before showing up to the start of the 5k as a long training run preparing for the RnR Arizona Marathon in January. 2013 who knows?
Fifth-dressing up! Elves, snowmen, santa, people in only shorts. Who knows what you will see when you run this race.
Lastly, the race is only $10 and you get an embroidered stocking hat. This is the cheapest race I’ve ever entered and you get so much for it. Plus, your $10 goes towards keeping the Rotary Light going. They also collect non-perishables for the local food pantry during the entire month the lights are going and they encourage runners to bring non-perishables, too.
If you live in the Coulee Region this is an awesome family event. They cap registration fees at $27/family, too. This race has become part of our annual holiday traditions making it one of my favorites!
Rotary Lights 5k
Time: ?? (27:??)
Pace: ?? (9:??)
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. Soon it will be Christmas Day! Yes, I’m listening to Christmas music. Just for this post though. And it is less than five months away.