Tis the season for holiday fun runs

Christmas music is playing on radio stations. Starbucks has switched to its red cups. And crazed shoppers are gearing up for Black Friday.

Yes, the holidays are definitely upon us.

Next week, families will gather around the table for Thanksgiving dinner. Or, if your family is like mine, you’ll gather around the table for Thanksgiving lunch and then Thanksgiving dinner followed by a weekend Thanksgiving get-together.

But with all that focus on eating also comes the opportunity for fun, holiday-themed runs.

First example: the 2011 Santa Speedo Run. The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 3 in Portland.

The event benefits The Ethiopia Project, a nonprofit that collects gently worn and new shoes and fits them on those in need in Ethiopia. The Ethiopia Project co-founder and race organizer is a former Vancouver resident and Heritage High School grad.

The event begins at North 45 Pub and includes four drink tickets for Deschutes Brewery beers and appetizers. After drinking and being merry, runners will take off for a cruise along Northwest 23rd and Northwest 21st avenues.

Speedos and scantily clad attire are not required, but Santa hats and sleigh bells are encouraged.


While the Santa Speedo event is more fun than run, several other festive events are taking place in the coming weeks.

Turkey Trot 5K Run hosted by the Clark County Running Club. The annual run begins at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 19 at Marine Park in Vancouver. And if you haven’t purchased your Thanksgiving bird, you’re in luck: There will be a drawing for turkeys.

Clark County Turkey Trot and Polar Bear Swim to benefit the Principal’s Checkbook, a local program that helps disadvantaged kids in our schools. The 5K run/walk and 10K run begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 24, Thanksgiving morning, at Klineline Pond. The Polar Bear swim follows at 10 a.m.

-Another Thanksgiving morning run: Turkey Trot at the Zoo. This 4-mile run begins at 8 a.m. at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. They also offer a half-mile Tot Trot inside the zoo for those younger than 12. Proceeds benefit the zoo, and race entry includes admission to the zoo.

Hot Buttered Run in Vancouver. This event begins at 8 a.m. Nov. 27 and offers a 5K run/walk, a 12K run and Kids Kandy Kane race at the Pearson Air Museum.

Following the run, participants can enjoy holiday music and food and beverage, including tasty hot buttered rums for the adults and hot chocolate for those younger than 21.

Ridgefield’s Holiday Fun Run at 9 a.m. Dec. 3. Participants in this event’s 5K and 10K will walk or run with Santa through the rural hills of Ridgefield.

Participants are asked to bring two cans of food to benefit the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Bank Program.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis in Portland. The Jingle Bell 5K run/walk begins at 8:50 a.m. Dec. 4 and is followed by a 1K kids run with the elves. All participants get bells to tie on their shoes so they can jingle as they run.

The event raises money for the Arthritis Foundation and includes contests for best holiday costume and best ugly holiday sweater.

Lincoln School Holiday Run hosted by the Clark County Running Club in Vancouver. This 4.3-mile run begins at 10 a.m. Dec. 10 and takes participants through the Lincoln Neighborhood to Discovery Trail.

After completing the course, runners are rewarded with candy canes.

Whether you choose Speedos or jingle bells, hot buttered rum or candy canes have some fun this fall and winter with one – or more – of these festive runs.

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