We are part of a great running group in the area known as Shenandoah Valley Runners, an organization that puts on races throughout the year for super affordable fees. One of the neatest things they do is host a series of eight races through the months of December through March when not a lot of other 5Ks are going on. These races do not involve any swag or individual race awards, but are a great way to get in a race and stay motivated during the cold and sometimes gloomy days of winter (awards are handed out at the end of the series based on the totality of races). You can choose to run the whole series, or just one or two races if you like.
Aaron and Caitlin are doing as many races as their schedules will allow for the 2017-18 winter months, the first of which was the Ugly Runner (Sweater) 5K at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. The race theme was to wear an ugly Christmas sweater of course, so Aaron donned his Godzilla Christmas shirt, and Caitlin was ready to go in her “Elfie” selfie sweater and hedgehog mittens.
The morning of the race was very cold with temps in the low 20s when we arrived to the parking lot. Each year the race series has become more popular, and according to the organizer they had a record turnout of around 450 participants (maybe more). Aaron and Caitlin planned to run the race together and do the best they could without tracking or worrying about time during the race. The course had flat portions, but there was a short steep hill near the beginning and the end of the race, with a slow incline towards the middle part.
We were very proud of Caitlin as she set a personal 5K PR of 30:24 placing 1st out of 7 of girls ages 9 and under!