Overall Rating
Overall Rating (5 Reviews)
4.8
(5 Ratings)(5 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.6
SCENERY
3.8
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4.4
The movie producers must have been runners, because the distance between the former Higbee’s Department Store and the A Christmas Story House & Museum is about 5K. Ralphie’s dad, The Old Man must have used the 1938 Oldsmobile to track the distance – No GPS in the 1940’s! To accommodate … MORE
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Recent reviews

    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '19

    BOTTOM LINE: Can a race be described as magical? For those of us who grew up loving the movie A Christmas Story, this may be as close as it gets. … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: Can a race be described as magical? For those of us who grew up loving the movie A Christmas Story, this may be as close as it gets. From the many inspired costumes (Katie and I dressed as Black Bart, but there was no shortage of pink bunny suits), to the 5K finish line/10K turnaround at Ralphie’s house on W 11th aka “Cleveland Street,” to the post-race Ovaltine that warmed me from the inside, A Christmas Story Run is a terrific start to the holiday season. As someone who runs mostly marathons and ultramarathons, it’s rare to see so many happy runners on race day — everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and no one ended up in the medical tent after shooting their eye out. Even the early December Cleveland weather, clear and cold with little to no wind on race morning, was perfectly… well, perfect.

    Every year has had a theme, and 2019 was the year of “OH FUDGE,” as in the PG-rated version of the phrase Ralphie lets slip one night while helping his Old Man fix a blown tire in the cold.

    (Speaking of costumes, my favorite was one that passed so quickly I missed my chance to snap a picture. A boy walking with his mother in the opposite direction on the Hope Memorial Bridge was dressed as Ralphie post-soap poisoning — same hat, same coat and same dark sunglasses, all of it accompanied by his trademark walking cane. It was an inspired costume, the only one of its kind that I saw… and though I reacted too slowly to memorialize it on camera, luckily I was able to appreciate him in the moment.)

    The course itself offers a pleasant tour of downtown Cleveland and the adjacent Tremont neighborhood, the two of them connected by an out-and-back across the Hope Memorial Bridge with its monolithic “Guardians of Traffic” sculptures. The towering statues, which face both directions on the bridge, symbolize progress in transportation but seem oddly out of place in the Midwest with their winged helmets (reminiscent of the Greek god Hermes) and Art Deco styling. Appropriately, 5K runners finish at A Christmas Story House & Museum while 10K runners turn around and make the return trip — with slight variations — to Public Square.

    Honestly, my only race-day regret was that we couldn’t run farther — at 6.2 (or in Katie’s case, 3.1) miles, this was only my second official 10K in two decades and my first in the past three years. That said, if there’s any 10K or 5K worth traveling for, it’s this one — coming from temperate Los Angeles where winter means occasional rain and fewer beach volleyball games, A Christmas Story Run was a wonderful way to kick off the holidays, and I can easily see us returning to chase another “major award” in the 216.

    And about the 216… Cleveland gets a notoriously bad rap; in fact, Google “Cleveland tourism video” and you’ll see what I mean. Sure, the city may not strike most folks as an obvious holiday destination, and yes it may have set the Cuyahoga River on fire 13 times in just over 100 years. But straight up we had a tremendous weekend exploring downtown Cleveland and particularly the area around Public Square, including Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (home to the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, through ironically LeBron James now plays in our own hometown of Los Angeles) and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Throw in the charming A Christmas Story House & Museum, the world-class Cleveland Museum of Art (which we didn’t have time to visit this trip), plus eclectic dining options and a surfeit of craft breweries, and you’ve got more than enough to entertain and educate even the most dubious out-of-towner.

    PRODUCTION: What’s not to love about a race that starts and finishes alongside a 20-foot-tall inflatable leg lamp and a jumbotron broadcasting A Christmas Story? Though the crowds at the start line outside the former Higbee’s Department Store in Public Square were tightly packed, the start itself flowed smoothly, and I was able to run comfortably in no time despite lining up with a significantly slower pace group as I took my time shooting photos of the festivities. (Yes there were pacers, which impressed me for a 5K/10K, even one with 5,500 runners.)

    Given that the race also offers a “Running of the Bumpus Hounds,” kudos to the organizers for staggering the start times into four waves for runners (9:00am), runner with dogs (9:10am), walkers (9:15am), and walkers with dogs (9:20am).

    Signs along the course offered cool trivia about the movie, e.g. one of the kids in Ralphie’s class at Warren G. Harding Elementary School can be seen wearing a wristwatch depicting The Dukes of Hazzard, even though the movie was supposedly set in the early 1940s. And apparently none of the actors knew about the singing in the Chinese restaurant ahead of time, as evidenced by the fact that Melinda Dillon (who plays Ralphie’s mom) couldn’t stop laughing on camera during the scene.

    The post-race gathering at the 10K finish line in Public Square featured several tents offering pouches of Oikos yogurt, bananas, bottled water, and of course rich, chocolatey Ovaltine! Also available 3.1 miles away at the 5K finish line only was The Old Man’s (outdoor) Beer Garden, a seemingly odd addition to a 5K in December (and besides, wasn’t the Old Man only shown drinking wine in the movie?). Shuttles waited near the 5K finish line to transport runners back to the 10K finish in Public Square, so that Katie and I were reunited relatively quickly.

    Friday packet pickup at the Renaissance Hotel in Public Square was quick and easy. And on Saturday morning, the Renaissance doubled as a warm shelter for all runners before and after the race, which proved a welcome retreat once the sun ducked behind the clouds and the freezing temperatures began to bite at my sweaty running clothes. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

    With more than 5,500 finishers this is no small-town holiday run; at the same time it does sell out, so register early to secure your spot (we registered in early November for $55). As I write this, the race is offering an early-bird registration special of $35 for the first 500 registrants, which should be a no-brainer for any runner or walker who a) is a fan of the movie and b) lives within easy driving distance of Cleveland.

    SWAG: This year’s finisher medal is a welcome addition to my wall o’ bling, depicting as it does Ralphie with a bar of Lifebuoy soap in his mouth accompanied by this year’s theme, “OH FUDGE!” emblazoned below the familiar logo of A Christmas Story. Not only that, but the long-sleeved red cotton tee is high quality and perfect for the season. As a bonus, any runner fast (and focused) enough to reach the podium or place within their age group won a “Major Award” in the form of a scaled-down leg lamp — none of the Old Man’s crossword puzzle prowess required. And free race photos were available almost immediately after the race, which was hands down the fastest I’ve ever received my photos. Thanks, Santa!

    For a pictorial narrative of the 7th Annual A Christmas Story 5K/10K, check out my blog recap at https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2019/12/18/christmas-story-5k-10k-race-report/

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Lorelei Dec 18, 2019 at 3:20am

    If you come back next year, I’ll definitely run it with you (or behind you) as the case may be. It was fantastic meeting you and Katie! There is so… MORE

    If you come back next year, I’ll definitely run it with you (or behind you) as the case may be. It was fantastic meeting you and Katie! There is so much more to our great city to experience. Next time, the four of us (my husband included) will make an even better time of your visit. LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Dec 18, 2019 at 12:25pm

    Awesome on both counts, thanks Lorelei! Each December revolves (in part) around our 50 States schedule, but we had a blast in Cleveland and would love to visit again soon.… MORE

    Awesome on both counts, thanks Lorelei! Each December revolves (in part) around our 50 States schedule, but we had a blast in Cleveland and would love to visit again soon. Happy holidays! LESS

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    jedgein REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Another great race! It was very cold but that is every year. The medal is awesome! The only complaint I would have is that a ton of people that are … MORE

    Another great race! It was very cold but that is every year. The medal is awesome! The only complaint I would have is that a ton of people that are just going to walk the race all gather right up front and in the first half mile or so all the runners are very crowded so when they say go it is a bad bottle neck. That aside the race is always well done. Lots of folks dress up like parts of the movie which is really cool. And you get to see some of Cleveland downtown. All around it is just a good time.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Mswiz2010 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Loved all the costumes, I dressed up also. Very fun race. The only issue was my family trying to get the bus to meet me at the finish line. Maybe … MORE

    Loved all the costumes, I dressed up also. Very fun race. The only issue was my family trying to get the bus to meet me at the finish line. Maybe it would be better if they could be bussed before the race starts?

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    mseeyoremi FIRST-TIMER '13

    Very fun race that starts at casino(used to be higbee dept store from.movie) 5k ends at actual house from movie. 10k returns to casino you get entry into house with … MORE

    Very fun race that starts at casino(used to be higbee dept store from.movie) 5k ends at actual house from movie. 10k returns to casino you get entry into house with race entry. People tend to dress up as characters from.movie. the theme changes each year but leg lamp always joins. I stay at Red Roof and save money on room.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    toadhall REPEAT RUNNER '17

    You don’t have to wear a costume but it’s more fun to dress up! Everyone is having fun and the 5k ends at “the house” from the movie, or you … MORE

    You don’t have to wear a costume but it’s more fun to dress up! Everyone is having fun and the 5k ends at “the house” from the movie, or you can run back downtown for the 10k. I usually walk 5k with friends then run back so it’s a decent workout. Ovaltine and other goodies at the finish, and nice medals depiction a different theme is chosen each year. Friends and I have done it every year since it started, and they come from Arizona and Florida to join us!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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  1. Races
  2. A Christmas Story 5K & 10K Run