The following is a guest blog by Lisa Gulasy. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaGulasy.
In the middle of West 11th Street stands a yellow and green house with a scandalous lamp proudly displayed in its front window and a Red Ryder BB gun strewn underneath a twinkling Christmas tree. Yes, Cleveland is home to the “A Christmas Story” house, the humble abode of Ralphie, Randy, the Old Man and Mother Parker.
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of “A Christmas Story,” and to celebrate, the folks at A Christmas Story House & Museum organized a number of festive events, the most anticipated of which happened this past weekend: A Christmas Story 5K/10K Run.
Now, I’m not a big fan of running (especially running outdoors in Cleveland in December!), but when I learned I had an opportunity to dash through the streets of Cleveland with people in pink bunny suits, I jumped to register. I wasn’t alone: Nearly 5,000 people signed up for both the 5K and 10K and even more people took advantage of the race’s virtual option.
On race day, my boyfriend, Nate, and I bundled up and headed to the starting line at Higbee’s Department Store. (Okay, so it’s not actually Higbee’s anymore—it’s the Horseshoe Casino. But it still has Higbee’s window displays!) Jumping and jogging in place to stay warm against the biting Cleveland wind, we listened to Christmas carols and eagerly waited for the race to begin.
The gun sounded at 9 a.m., and we were off! The 5K route took us from the edge of Public Square, across the Hope Memorial Bridge and through the streets of Tremont to A Christmas Story House & Museum. Spectators cheered as I raced along runners dressed as Leg Lamps and elves, making my way closer to the house and finally down West 11th and across the 5K finish line.
After crossing the finish line, my fellow 5K runners and I were presented with a major award: a commemorative limited edition Leg Lamp medal. Our Race Day packets also contained a Leg Lamp-themed long sleeve t-shirt and a ticket to tour A Christmas Story House & Museum. At the finish line, volunteers handed out bananas, bagels, milk and packets of chocolatey Ovaltine (Ralphie’s favorite!).
5K runners were then transported back to Public Square via buses to meet up with 10K runners and await the award ceremony held inside the Cleveland Mall. The top three overall male and female winners for both the 5K and 10K were awarded miniature Leg Lamps, and runners in the top three slots in their age groups were awarded special commemorative plaques. With a time of 26:57.4, I finished 212th overall and 10th in women ages 20-24. (Not bad for my first 5K!)
At the Awards Ceremony, race organizers announced A Christmas Story 5K/10K will become an annual Cleveland event, with next year’s race expected to take place Saturday, December 6. Proceeds from this year’s A Christmas Story 5K/10K Race (and likely those hereafter) benefit A Christmas Story House Neighborhood Restoration Project, a non-profit that works to restore and maintain the neighborhood surrounding A Christmas Story House through public and private grants.
Despite the below freezing temperatures, it really was a beautiful day in Cleveland for A Christmas Story 5K/10K race. The cheerful atmosphere and warm camaraderie of fellow “A Christmas Story” lovers was not only a great way to celebrate “A Christmas Story” turning 30, but also a great way to revel our city.
Special thanks to Jessica for allowing me to contribute to her blog, and happy holidays to you, her readers!
About Lisa Gulasy
Originally from a Pittsburgh suburb, Lisa moved to Northeast Ohio to attend Kent State University where she graduated with a B.S. in Public Relations in 2012. Lisa works as a content specialist at Kuno Creative, a Cleveland inbound marketing agency, where she writes eBooks, blogs and email campaigns and manages social media. A west side resident, Lisa enjoys exploring all Cleveland has to offer, especially its restaurants and breweries.
Thanks so much for the wonderful guest post, Lisa!