Hide   Volume
The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Runners Celebrate Holiday Cheer

Runners participate in 2014 Ugly Sweater Run.

Photo credit: Kevin Croy

Runners participate in 2014 Ugly Sweater Run.
Written by: Communicator StaffDecember 08, 2016

The fourth annual Ugly Sweater Run hosted by Fleet Feet Sports begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

The run started as part of Fleet Feet Sports’ Winter Warrior Program to train runners for marathons but has grown over the years.

The event is open to all ages and registration is free. The only cost to participate is the donation of two canned food items to benefit The Community Harvest Food Bank.

It is “all about community outreach and getting people moving,” said Kevin Croy, the owner of Fleet Feet Sports. “It is our one holiday gift to the city.”

The three-mile run will begin at J K O’Donnell’s Irish Pub and pass through downtown Fort Wayne. This will allow participants to view all of the downtown holiday lights while running.

Race times will not be recorded and no streets will be closed. While the course will be marshaled, runners must use sidewalks and traffic rules.

Now, a mix of parents, college students and families take part in the run, according to Croy.

The first year of the run about 80 individuals participated. Currently, there are approximately 300 runners pre-registered but Croy estimates 500 participants.

Last year the Ugly Sweater Run attracted 500 participants and the post-run celebration filled three bars.

This celebration takes place at J K O’Donnell’s along with the annual Ugly Sweater Contest.

“Some people are embarrassed to wear an ugly sweater, but you actually look silly if you don’t wear an ugly sweater; there will be 500 people all with ugly sweaters on,” Croy said.

The winner with the ugliest sweater will win “a prize, drinks and fun,” according to fleetfortwayne.com.

Last year, Fort Wayne voted the Ugly Sweater Run as one of the top 10 things to do in the city for the holidays; and for the second-year in a row, Fleet Feet Sports was awarded one of the top 50 running stores in the U.S.

They sell items such as fitted running shoes, running apparel and recovery items.

In addition to their Ugly Sweater Run, Fleet Feet Sports has many more activities. They offer classes, groups and programs for all ages. The store even partners with the YMCA to host a grade-school running program.

More information about Fleet Feet Sports can be found at fleetfeetfortwayne.com. Individuals interested in the Ugly Sweater Run can learn more at fleetfortwayne.com/uglysweaterrun and register at runsignup.com.