Disclaimer: I received an entry for the Christmas Story Run 5k/10k to promote and review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.
Several years ago, I learned about the Christmas Story Run and was immediately in love with the idea of this race that ended AT the Christmas Story House in Cleveland. As I posted before, since then, this was a bucket list race for me, but I could never justify the 8.5 hour drive from Green Bay to Cleveland to run a 10k… or especially a 5k! But this year, I did just that!
Last Friday, my awesome friend Kelly and I left her house at 5am to drive to Cleveland! There was A LOT of coffee involved in that adventure that started early, considering we didn’t get to sleep until who knows what time Thursday night…
As were were cruising through Hammond Indiana, I remembered the Christmas Story gift shop and flagpole at the visitor center… so we had to make a u-turn (ok, we drove to the next exit and headed back) to stop. It was too early in the morning for the gift shop to me open, but we found that they have an AMAZING Christmas Story display that is basically a walk through of all the big scenes from the movie! This it was so early in the morning, we had the place to ourselves to enjoy!
and for us, no trip through Indiana is complete without a detour to Merrillville, there is ALWAYS a stop at Albanese too… gotta stock up on Gummies!
Once we made it to Cleveland that afternoon, we headed straight to our friend Mary’s house, waited for Jessi and her husband to get there and then headed downtown for packet pickup and dinner!
The race offered early packet pickup at a few different locations earlier in the week, and Mary offered to pick up our stuff, but we all wanted to see downtown Cleveland at night, enjoy the fun of the evening and we also had to eat. May as well do it all at the same time!
Packet pickup at at the Renaissance Hotel, right in the heart of Cleveland, right on the town square! We wanted to take in all the sights but headed to take care of business first! Since we were coming in later in the evening (6pm) and packet pickup was until 7pm, it was pretty quiet! We didn’t have any long lines and were able to have some fun!
and of course we had to get our picture taken with Santa!
They had some shirts and other merchandise from previous races available to sale too and it was kinda fun to see the shirts from the 2 years that i did the virtual race in the display.
After we had all of our goodies, we headed out, enjoyed the lights of the city and had an amazing dinner and then headed back to Mary’s to relax, hang out and then get some sleep before a fun day!
Thanks to Mary’s connections with the running clubs in Cleveland, she was able to score us FREE parking right downtown, just a few blocks away from the square (aka the start line) and Higbee’s department store!
We met up with several other friends, hung out, took pictures and enjoyed the cool morning. It is always nice to catch up with fellow Skirt Sport Ambassadors as well as BibRave Pro’s when I am traveling for a race and this morning was no different!
Even though Preston ended up running a little later than he had anticipated, I was able to catch up with him and Jackey before the race before we all had to walk over to the start line!
One of the best part of this race is that along with the regular race, they also have the Bumpus Hound Run! Runners and walkers are given the opportunity to register their own favorite Bumpus Hound to join them on the fun! We spent some much time at the start line playing with puppies, giving ear scratches and even grabbing a few furry selfies! My favorite pooch of the morning was Oliver! Oliver was 13 months old and full of personality, spunk and love! It was fun to share some time with him at the start line!
Since the four of us were walking, we jumped in behind the runners and started on our adventure! I was blessed with some amazing friends that had no hesitation in walking with me and my bum foot. We decided that we were going to have fun, see the sights and enjoy the morning. The race starts out with a short loop through town, past the arena and then heads over the bridge where you are greeted with some amazing views of the Cleveland skyline!
It was fun to see all the amazing costumes out on the course too. Yes there were hundreds of deranged Easter Bunnies (including my friend Jessi) but there was also Leg Lamps, FRAGILE crates, Flick, Bad Bart, and even the old man!
But remember the Bumpus Hound part of the event? Many of them were in costumes too!
Before long we were turning down the street just a few blocks from the finish line of the 5k! Right before the final turn and the finish line, those running the 10k turned left to start their journey back downtown to the Higbee Building. We turned right and found the finish line!
Once you get to the House and the gift shop, the party really starts!
You can do some shopping at the Gift Shop. We chose to give Mary our list of items that we wanted and she was going to come back and shop for us on a later date as they lines were far longer than we wanted to wait in.
There is the Old Man’s Beer Garden, where local brews are available for purchase. We opted to skip the beer Garden and find some Bloody Mary’s at lunch! But as we walked by, one could really see that the party was well under way.
One of the other perks of the race is being able to tour the Christmas Story House! All weekend long, you have to opportunity to tour the house – you just need the coupon attached to your race bib! Since Kelly and I had toured the house when we were in Cleveland the following summer, we opted not to take the tour. Jessie and her husband wanted to make sure they got in the tour… but the lines to get into the house after the race went all the way to the OTHER END of the BLOCK!
Needless to say, Jessie and Ari opted to wait until Sunday to visit the house. I was informed that on Sunday, they walked right in!! No waiting!
We grabbed a few more post race photos, including one at the finish line with Santa and decided to head to the buses that were provided to transport everyone back and forth between the start line and the house. After walking back towards where we had seen the buses parked a few blocks over, we were told that the line for the buses started around the other side of the block… all the way back by the Old Man’s Beer Garden! Yes, that line was over 2 blocks long! Instead of walking all the way back to the house and waiting in that long line, we opted to walk across the street and call an Uber!
Once we were dropped off back downtown by the garage Mary’s car was parked in, we headed out to take a few pictures around the city and find lunch! All in all it was an awesome day, spent with friends, enjoying a fun city and one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time!
Things to note:
*If you don’t get downtown to get your packed before Friday night, there is packet pickup before the race on Saturday.
*Get into the fun and wear a costume!
*Play with all the puppies!
*Expect long lines for the bus to get back to the downtown area from the House. (if you run the 10k and need to get back to the house for the party, catching that bus downtown didn’t have much of a wait)
*Did I mention playing with the puppies!
*The line for the House/Museum is going to be LONG on race day. If you can extend your trip to give you time on Sunday, that is going to be your best option
*Pet and take pictures with the puppies!
And YES it is definitely worth the 8.5 hour drive to get there!
Until next time, keep chasing your dreams, running your way through your bucket list and be sure to let me know where you are running and what races you love! You never know, I may add those to my list!