Overall Rating
Overall Rating (35 Reviews)
4.2
(35 Ratings)(35 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.5
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4.4
SWAG
4.1
Snow at the start line and a snowflake medal at the finish makes this is a unique Southern California race. So get into the spirit of the season! The Ugly Sweater 5K & 10K on Saturday start and finish in the main plaza of Fairplex So Cal, home of the … MORE
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2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
 
H (°F) 71 64 81 66 64
L (°F) 48 46 47 54 38
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Recent reviews

    lancenull REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Start/Finish at the Fairplex in Pomona Ca. Run goes around Bonelli Park and Puddingstone Lake. 5k and 10k races on Saturday combine with half on Sunday for the Golden Snowflake … MORE

    Start/Finish at the Fairplex in Pomona Ca. Run goes around Bonelli Park and Puddingstone Lake.
    5k and 10k races on Saturday combine with half on Sunday for the Golden Snowflake challenge.
    Many running clubs are represented at the event.
    Extra awards for 3+ year running streak at race.
    Costume contest both days before the events.
    Fee for parking, but one fee covers packet pickup and both race days.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    KelliKO REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I may not enjoy the 5K that goes with this series, but I do like the Half Marathon. It goes through Bonelli Park, which is a beautiful area. The course … MORE

    I may not enjoy the 5K that goes with this series, but I do like the Half Marathon. It goes through Bonelli Park, which is a beautiful area. The course is a bit challenging with rolling hills, but still provides the chance to PR. Nice, local race for holiday time.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    KelliKO REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I have run this in the past because it is very close to me, but I'll be honest, it isn't a great 5K. The entire course is through the Fairplex … MORE

    I have run this in the past because it is very close to me, but I’ll be honest, it isn’t a great 5K. The entire course is through the Fairplex parking lot and it is pretty boring. Don’t get me wrong, Holiday does well with what they have and the production is good, but I don’t like the course. The medals are nice and the shirt is cute.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    RunKMacRun REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This race has a loyalty program. After 3 years you become a member of the Penguin Club and received extra goodies each additional year. They also offer a Golden Snowflake … MORE

    This race has a loyalty program. After 3 years you become a member of the Penguin Club and received extra goodies each additional year.
    They also offer a Golden Snowflake Challenge if you run the 5K on Saturday before the 1/2. If you do this be sure to SAVE your parking pass. You can use it both days.
    Race morning packet pick up is available for free. I really enjoy this race and hope to keep my legacy streak going all the way to year 10.

    The course is a bit challenging and there are a few rolling hills in the middle and end. Really pretty course.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    runwalksarah REPEAT RUNNER '18

    2018 marked my 4th year running the Holiday Half Marathon. Packet pick-up was available after the 5K on Saturday from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Free race morning packet pickup … MORE

    2018 marked my 4th year running the Holiday Half Marathon.

    Packet pick-up was available after the 5K on Saturday from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Free race morning packet pickup was available on Sunday starting at 6:00 am. New this year — bib numbers were not pre-assigned. On Friday, participants were e-mailed a QR code to print out or show on their phone. At packet pickup, volunteers scanned the QR code and then scanned the bib being assigned.

    Parking was at the Pomona Fairplex, Blue Gate 9. There was signage guiding traffic to the proper gate, which I appreciated as my GPS wanted to send me in a different direction. The cost to park was $12, cash or card. If you attend both days, you only have to pay for parking once as long as you save your receipt. I normally aim to arrive to this race approximately 1.5 hours before the start. Since I picked up my bib on Saturday, I decided to “sleep in” on Sunday and arrive only 1 hour before the race. I later regretted that decision. After waiting in a long line of cars to get into the Fairplex, 7 lanes of traffic were forced to merge down into two lanes. There was no one directing traffic and it was a mess. The two lanes then had to merge into a single lane. This part shouldn’t have been difficult, but apparently zipper merging is a lost art. After this point, there were volunteers directing people to available parking spaces. I noticed several people ignored them and proceeded to park where they pleased. I will arrive earlier next year to avoid this frustration. Thank goodness the buses transporting many of the Students Run LA participants were in a separate lane, thus did not add to the traffic congestion.

    One of the luxuries of the Holiday Half is that you are able to use the restrooms at the Fairplex before/after the race. No portapotties!!!!!

    There was a costume contest at approximately 7:40 am and the race started at 8:00 am. Students Run LA have a separate start at 8:30 am. While it is cooler in December, this feels like a rather late start. I wish the race would consider starting half an hour to an hour earlier.

    The Holiday Half is one of my absolute favorite local half marathon courses. It runs through the Pomona Fairplex and on the speedway. We then cross over to Frank Bonelli Park to run around Puddingstone Reservoir before returning to the Fairplex. This year, the tops of the distant mountains were dusted with snow from the recent storm. It was beautiful. There are hills throughout the course, making it moderately challenging. Do not expect to PR. The aid stations were set-up approximately 1 – 1.5 miles starting at mile 2. All were stocked with water, several were also stocked with Nuun and one provided Honey Singer Gels (my favorite!).

    Finish line refreshments included bananas, Terra Blues chips (yum!), Skinny Pop popcorn, Kind bars (yum!) and bottles of Bai antioxidant water with optional Nuun tablets to drop in.

    The finisher medal featured a Christmas wreath (see my attached photo). In years past, the medal has been a snowflake with the exact design changing each year. Some participants were disappointed that the race broke away from this tradition. The participant shirt was a red “ugly sweater” inspired dri-fit short sleeve shirt. There were a variety of vendors selling running related items and offering product samples.
    If you run the 5K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday, you can receive the Golden Snowflake Challenge medal. If you run the Half Marathon for 3 consecutive years, you become a member of the Penguin March Club and receive the Lil’ Blue Penguin medal. There is a different penguin pin for each following year. After 6 consecutive years, you receive a hooded sweatshirt. At 10 consecutive years, you will be named “Emperor Penguin” and will receive what the website describes as “the ultimate Penguin March Club memorabilia.”
    All participants over the age of 21 received a free Michelob Ultra beer. Penguin March Club members also receive a Michelob Ultra Pure Gold, Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus or a Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer.
    I really enjoy the energy of this race provides. The incentive of the Penguin March Club pins ensures that I keep coming back for more. Not to mention, my picture is on the main page of the race website. How can I not run it?!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 04, 2019 at 12:33pm

    And a great picture it is, Sarah! Very cool to see you on their website smiling back at me. This sounds like a fun way to usher in the holidays,… MORE

    And a great picture it is, Sarah! Very cool to see you on their website smiling back at me. This sounds like a fun way to usher in the holidays, and especially in warm & sunny SoCal where holiday spirit can be tough to come by. We ran our own Ugly Sweater 5K in Little Rock this year and had a blast. Congrats on a fantastic year of running, and thanks for all your excellent & helpful reviews — here's to a happy, healthy and even better 2019! LESS

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    runwalksarah REPEAT RUNNER '18

    The Ugly Sweater 5K was on Saturday and the Holiday Half Marathon was on Sunday (to be reviewed in a separate post). If you register for the challenge and run … MORE

    The Ugly Sweater 5K was on Saturday and the Holiday Half Marathon was on Sunday (to be reviewed in a separate post). If you register for the challenge and run both races, you can receive the Golden Snowflake Challenge medal after finishing the Half Marathon on Sunday.

    Parking was at the Pomona Fairplex, Blue Gate 9. There was signage guiding traffic to the proper gate, which I appreciated as my GPS wanted to send me in a different direction. The cost to park was $12, cash or card. If you attend both days, save your receipt so you only have to pay for parking once.

    Packet pick-up for the 5K was only available on Saturday morning starting at 7 am. New this year — bib numbers were not pre-assigned. On Friday, participants were e-mailed a QR code to print out or show on their phone. At packet pickup on Saturday morning, volunteers scanned the QR code and then scanned the bib being assigned. The lines to pick-up bibs were rather long, but moved at a semi-reasonable pace.

    There was a costume contest at 8 am and the race started at 8:30 am. The course is a simple loop through the Fairplex. Other than one hill, it was mostly flat. There was one aid station, which served water and Nuun. The course highlights included running through some of the art installations for the Chinese Lantern Festival and running on the speedway.

    Finish line refreshments included Terra Blues chips (yum!), Skinny Pop popcorn, Kind bars (yum!) and bottles of Bai antioxidant water.

    The finisher medal featured a Christmas wreath (see my attached photo). In years past, the medal has been a snowflake with the exact design changing each year. Some participants were disappointed that the race broke away from this tradition. The participant shirt was a red “ugly sweater” inspired dri-fit short sleeve shirt. The shirt was the same for both the 5K and Half Marathon. There were a variety of vendors selling running related items and offering product samples.

    The 5K is fun, but the primary reason I run it is to earn the Golden Snowflake Challenge medal. If it weren’t for the challenge medal, I would just run the half.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    KelliKO FIRST-TIMER '16

    This is a good "home town" race. It isn't one of those big production races, but it is still a good one for locals. I like how they give out … MORE

    This is a good “home town” race. It isn’t one of those big production races, but it is still a good one for locals. I like how they give out difference snowflake medals each year and the shirt is usually pretty full of holiday spirit. The start and end of the course are in the Fairplex, and not my favorite. But the run through Bonelli Park is pretty and also challenging. The parking is fairly easy and the event is well organized.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    HalfSpeedQueen FIRST-TIMER '17

    Relatively fast course with a few hills thrown in. I enjoyed the run through the park and the aid stations were well staffed. I will definitely put this on my … MORE

    Relatively fast course with a few hills thrown in. I enjoyed the run through the park and the aid stations were well staffed. I will definitely put this on my repeat list for 2018.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    RunningKatLinda REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Start or continue this great Holiday tradition, run the Snowflake Challenge - a flat 5k on Saturday and a challenging, but beautiful Half Marathon on Sunday. The race is well … MORE

    Start or continue this great Holiday tradition, run the Snowflake Challenge – a flat 5k on Saturday and a challenging, but beautiful Half Marathon on Sunday. The race is well put together and has a fun and festive atmosphere. There are lots of costumes and opportunities to take pictures with giant inflatables. There is a pre-race “warm-up” and a costume contest on both days with lots of prizes for the different categories. The “Most Inappropriate” raised some eyebrows!!!!!
    “Snow” at the start line gets everyone in the Holiday Spirit on both days. The race is run in a beautiful park with views of the local mountains and a lake side route. It’s a tough course, but there is plenty of support along the way and a lot of local running groups come out to cheer their friends.
    2018 will be the 10th running of this race and there are several legacy runners. The snowflake medals are large and full of sparkle and this year there was a tee shirt and a beanie – both in the Ugly Sweater theme.
    This is a fun race and should definitely find it’s way onto your calendar if you can be in southern California on the second weekend of December.
    See you next year runners!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    SugarBritches REPEAT RUNNER '17

    It started 4 years ago on a whim...oooh a special challenge with a BIG MEDAL, ya don't say? I had my eldest daughter with me while I picked up my … MORE

    It started 4 years ago on a whim…oooh a special challenge with a BIG MEDAL, ya don’t say? I had my eldest daughter with me while I picked up my packet for the Long Beach Half Marathon and she wanted to do another 5k and that’s where it all began. I signed up for the Golden Snowflake Challenge and she signed up for the 5k. The rest is history!

    The course is a tough one. Lots of hills in and around Bonelli Park. But the scenery is pretty on the run through the park and areas surrounding the small airport. It’s fun to run on the drag strip at the Pomona Fairplex as well. There is a lot of shade while running through the park.

    I have to say that this is one of the most well put together races that I run and that is why I keep coming back every year. It is always well organized, starts on time, the course support doesn’t disappear half way through the race (like several other halfs that I have run), and it is a ton of fun! They even open up one of the fairplex buildings on race morning since it tends to be a little chilly. They also have most of the bathrooms open on the grounds, so you don’t have a line 20 people deep at porta-potties 15 min before race time. Parking is really easy too. You pay $10 flat fee for the whole weekend, even if you come on Saturday and Sunday you just have to keep your parking ticket.

    The medals and swag are awesome! I get 3 medals every year since I do the Golden Snowflake Challenge, and they are beautiful. I am also a Penguin March Club member so I got a special medal at year 3 and a pin every year after that. This year besides their “ugly sweater” looking tech shirts, they also had super warm beanies and ornaments that you could put your race picture in!

    The only thing that you should be aware of is that it is a “Students Run LA” race. So there are over 1,000 kids running along side you. Some of their groups have taught their kids course etiquette, however some have not. You have to watch for them randomly stopping to tie their shoes or stretch in the middle of the course. But that is an SRLA thing, NOT anything at all to do with the racing company. In fact they do their best to not have the SRLA runners interfere with the general runners by setting up a separate start time for SRLA.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    redpriestown FIRST-TIMER '17

    I was originally signed up for the Santa to the Sea up in Oxnard, but that was (rightfully) canceled due to the fires in the area. An opportunity came up … MORE

    I was originally signed up for the Santa to the Sea up in Oxnard, but that was (rightfully) canceled due to the fires in the area. An opportunity came up where I was able to sign up for the Holiday Half at the last minute, so I hopped on board.
    Race had a surprising amount of climb (~650 total feet) that I wasn’t expecting. Yes, they do mention this on the website, but given my last-minute sign up, I didn’t realize that. Despite this, I had a good time. The crowd was pleasant and not too large. You run around a lake and Raging Waters, so you have plenty of nice views. Worth doing again next year depending on whether or not I actually get to do the Santa to the Sea.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    RunKMacRun REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This race offers two races for a weekend challenge. 5k on Saturday and 1/2 on Sunday. BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR PARKING TICKET if you keep your parking ticket you … MORE

    This race offers two races for a weekend challenge. 5k on Saturday and 1/2 on Sunday. BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR PARKING TICKET if you keep your parking ticket you can use it for both days and only have to pay for parking once!
    I find this course challenging but super fun. 2017 was my 5th year running it. If you run 3 years in a row you become a member of the Penguin Club and every year after that you get a new pin with a different penguin on it. Will be back for 2018!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    amwotkyns REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Loved the rolling hills and lovely scenery for most of race. Volunteers were great, aid stations were well stocked, easy parking and great post race band and party! MORE

    Loved the rolling hills and lovely scenery for most of race. Volunteers were great, aid stations were well stocked, easy parking and great post race band and party!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    vibisalcedo FIRST-TIMER '17

    Great family atmosphere. If you like hills this is the race for you. Lots of friendly support from volunteers throughout the course. I loved Santa, the beanie, the shirt and … MORE

    Great family atmosphere. If you like hills this is the race for you. Lots of friendly support from volunteers throughout the course. I loved Santa, the beanie, the shirt and the BLING. I’m looking forward to next years Snowflake Challenge.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    lmtw FIRST-TIMER '17

    The support was wonderful, there was an abundant amount of volunteers handing out water and food/energy/gel along the way. The course was mostly beautiful, yet very challenging. I didn't PR … MORE

    The support was wonderful, there was an abundant amount of volunteers handing out water and food/energy/gel along the way. The course was mostly beautiful, yet very challenging. I didn’t PR due to the difficulty of the course, but I would totally do this race again!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    angelcay FIRST-TIMER '17

    Good support, cute shirts, and beanie is nice. No restroom between mile 4 and 8. It is a pretty fast course. Gear check in was easy, and pick up was … MORE

    Good support, cute shirts, and beanie is nice. No restroom between mile 4 and 8.
    It is a pretty fast course. Gear check in was easy, and pick up was breeze. Very at home kind of atmosphere.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    dana.0212 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The Holiday Half Marathon & 5k event really knows how bring in the holiday spirit. From the "ugly sweater" running shirt, "ugly sweater" beanies, snow at the start line and … MORE

    The Holiday Half Marathon & 5k event really knows how bring in the holiday spirit. From the “ugly sweater” running shirt, “ugly sweater” beanies, snow at the start line and Christmas Carolers singing – it truly is a festive event. Lots of pre-race advertising, pre-race communication is great as well. I knew exactly where to go on race day. LOTS of parking available at the Fairplex and LOTS of bathrooms available at the start/finish area. The 5 race is a mostly flat and easy route – part of the route is on the speedway. The half marathon route is scenic and can be a bit challenging at times. The route goes through the Frank Bonelli Regional Park with great views of Puddingstone lake. Finishers medals are sparkly snowflakes – completed the both the half marathon & 5k for the Snowflake Challenge and receive an even bigger snowflake medal! Post race activities are great! Lots of vendor, lots of tables & chair to relax, food and a complimentary beer! I loved the support along the half marathon route – lots of water/aid stations and so many spectators cheering you on. Its one of those races you can’t help but to smile the entire way. Looking forward to participating again in 2018!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    jellin FIRST-TIMER '17

    You have to pay for parking $10, which seems to be the norm for most races lately. There were like no bathrooms until mile 6-7; with so many runners, a … MORE

    You have to pay for parking $10, which seems to be the norm for most races lately. There were like no bathrooms until mile 6-7; with so many runners, a few portable bathrooms would be expected on the course. There seemed to be a water stop every 1.5 miles, which was nice. Overall, its a nice race.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    mcrisanty FIRST-TIMER '17

    The holiday challenge bling is beautiful, the hills, scenery, volunteers on the course absolutely awesome. Thanks too everyone that volunteered it means a lot. Will be back next year, God … MORE

    The holiday challenge bling is beautiful, the hills, scenery, volunteers on the course absolutely awesome. Thanks too everyone that volunteered it means a lot.
    Will be back next year, God willing.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Ursula17 FIRST-TIMER '17

    I registered for the race without seeing the course and it was a little more hilly than expected. The course was beautiful and well planned out. MORE

    I registered for the race without seeing the course and it was a little more hilly than expected. The course was beautiful and well planned out.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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  1. Races
  2. Holiday Half Marathon, 10K & 5K (CA)