Peer pressure may usually have a negative connotation, but in this case it was a good thing and worked out in my favor. Erin couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on all of the fun, so she signed up for the Run With Santa 5K at the last minute! She even picked up my race packet on Friday, and provided race morning curb-side pickup.

Having run the race in 2014 and 2013, I knew that we would have a wonderful time and I couldn’t blame her for adding yet another race to her 2015 racing schedule!


Once at Reston Town Center we headed directly to the northeast corner of Fountain Square to meet our fellow MRTT friends for a quick multi-chapter meet-up and pre-race picture.

While waiting for our friends to join us, we got a quick picture of our festive race costumes.  This was only my third race in a costume, and I think I did a pretty good job considering that I was shopping the day before. Because of the cut of the neckline I was afraid I’d get cold running so I added a short sleeved running top underneath. As feared, that extra layer proved too warm so I slid my sleeves up as soon as I started running. If I wear this shirt next year, I might stitch the white shirt in place around the red shirt’s neckline, and then cut away the rest of the white shirt – something I considered doing this year, but ran out of time.


Photo courtesy of Erin


As soon as Erin and I got our quick picture, I headed out for about a mile warm-up run, making sure I was back in time for our MRTT pictures.

Right at 8:15 moms from all around the area descended upon our meet-up location. We had one of the hubby’s snap a multi-chapter picture…


Photo courtesy of Erin

And then one of our local chapter… I love seeing daughters joining their moms for so many of our local races. These young ladies are amazing, and I don’t think I could have run 3.1 miles without a lot of complaining when I was their ages.


Photo courtesy of Erin


After our group pictures I headed back out for another half mile run to stay warm. As I headed out, I saw my friend Cheryl and her dog Dash. Cheryl is one speedy runner, and when she isn’t racing she often comes out to take pictures.


Once back from my run I bumped into Cindy. She and I first officially met at last years Santa race even though we’d been captured together in photographs at other races. We were both hoping to break 25 minutes so we decided to start together. Her husband snapped this picture of us waiting for the start of the race.


Photo courtesy of Dustin


And then I handed my camera to someone behind us for another picture…


In order to meet our goal of a sub 25-minute race we would have to run an average 8:03 pace so we lined up next to the 7-8 minute pace sign which put us pretty close to the front.


With 1,073 women finishers and 666 men finishers, there were at least 1,500 runners behind us reaching all of the way back to near the fountain.


With a 3, 2, 1, GO count down, we were off!


Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running


Within a minute of starting I almost tripped over two little boys who came up from behind me and were zig-zagging back-and-forth through the crowd. Luckily, no one was tripped up, and I smiled as I wondered how many extra tenths of a mile they were adding to their race.

I had chosen to leave my GoPro at home and instead tucked my old little Canon Elf in the palm of my gloved hand. It works great when I pull over to the side of the street and stop to take a picture, but isn’t so great for pictures on the run.


Wanting to get a picture of Santa’s face, I turned to take another picture just as Santa stopped to say hello to someone (it turned out even worse than the one above). Little did I know that Cindy’s husband Dustin snapped a picture of me taking a picture of Santa until later in the day when she sent it to me.


Photo courtesy of Dustin


And here’s Dustin’s far better picture of Santa running past!


Photo courtesy of Dustin


While I was still out on the course trying to take pictures of Santa, the first place winner was crossing the finish line. Carlos Jamieson finished in 15:48 (5:05 pace).


Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running


Less than a minute later, Susanna Sullivan was the first female finisher in 16:40 (5:22 pace).


Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running


With an 8:11 first mile, 7:58 second mile, 8:22 third mile, and :54 final .13; I finished in 25:25 (8:07 pace). I must have been zig-zagging some, too, since I ran farther than 3.1 miles. Using the official race distance of 3.1 miles, my pace was an 8:11.


Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running


I didn’t break 25 minutes in the 5K this year; however, my time was good enough to give me third place out of 43 women in my age group and a $10 Potomac River Running gift certificate.


Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running


Having passed Santa earlier in the race, I was able to see him take a knee and wave to the crowd before crossing the finish line.


Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running


Soon after Santa ran across the finish line,  one of his elves (feeling rather warm in the knit scarf I told her she needed to wear to complete her outfit) came into sight!


As my friends and I gathered after the race to compare notes, goof off, and snap some pictures for an upcoming post I have in the works, Santa stopped by. We all got pictures with Santa, and as he posed with me he started pulling me around and I wasn’t sure what he was doing.


Photo courtesy of Melissa


Ends up, he wanted a picture of our other side!


Photo courtesy of Melissa


This year’s shirt is black. I can’t exactly say I think of black as a Christmas color except for the lump of coal that Saint Nicholas leaves for bad children – perhaps we runners have been bad. Two years ago the shirt was red and last year it was a really bright green.


As with all other =PR= Races we received a race pin.


And this year we received a cute Christmas ornament which I added a ribbon to and hung on our tree as soon as I got home.


As expected, my friends and I had a fantastic time! I can always count on a well organized race with attention to detail from a runner’s perspective whenever I run in a =PR= Race.

Edited note: Since Erin and I each had an afternoon party to host, we couldn’t hang around for the awards ceremony. Terri from PRR was kind enough to mail my third place age group gift certificate to me after the race! Thank you, Terri!


  • Questions:
  • What’s your favorite racing distance?
  • Did you run in a holiday themed race this year?
  • Have you put your 2016 racing calendar together yet?