7 holiday-themed races to get you in the spirit of the season


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If you need to get that Grinch off your shoulder, there's no better way to do that than to go for a run ... with a lot people ... scantily dressed like Santa ... while Christmas carolers sing at the start line! The holidays are a little more interesting with the following seven races designed to whip your body into shape and lift your spirits.

Please, just don't shoot your eye out.

“A Christmas Story” 5K/10K Run

In honor of the beloved holiday movie’s 30th anniversary, the restored Cleveland house where “A Christmas Story” was filmed is hosting a bunch of events, including the first annual 5K and 10K on Dec. 7. You get to run by various movie set locations, including the “A Christmas Story” House & Museum.

Participants are encouraged to dress up like their favorite characters (you can even buy costumes on the website!). Extra perk: Everyone gets to sip on hot Rich Chocolate Ovaltine, one of Ralphie’s favorite snacks, to help keep warm during the race. With this much excitement, you better run like you’re being shot at by a Red Ryder BB Gun.



Ugly Sweater Run

It’s about time we embrace the ugly sweaters we acquired from our great aunts and grandparents — and were forced to wear as kids. No better way to do that then to get really sweaty on a 3.1-mile fun run and pound down the free bottle of beer you receive at the finish line.

Ugly Sweater Runs are held all over the country, and they're packed with perks: Each runner receives a custom vintage knit hat, unlimited hot chocolate, two free beers and a mustache. A closed course full of hot-chocolate aide stations, snow blowers, Clark Griswold’s front yard and the biggest Santa inflatable around will await you. [Editor’s note: More finish lines should have beer.]



Santa Speedo Run

The holidays can mean different things to different people. If you’re 21 and over and don’t mind running a mile in your knickers, get your cold butt up to Boston and join the 14th annual Santa Speedo Run on Dec. 14. The run starts at a tavern, so you if you get there early, you can muster up some beer courage before stripping down. While the premise is all in good fun, the event raises money for a local children’s charity.



Christmas Carol Classic 5K/10K

It doesn't get any more classic than this. Denver's Christmas Carol Classic 5K/10K is good, healthy family fun complete with professional singers in full Dickensian costumes singing carols at the start and finish lines. Runners can pose with Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas.



Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run

Now in its 36th year, the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run is one of Los Angeles’ largest running events with thousands of people participating every year. And why not? The course winds through the palm tree-lined streets of Santa Monica and Venice, Calif., including a stretch along the famous Venice Beach boardwalk. There’s also a holiday costume contest, so don your most festive apparel!



Eggnog Mile

Just like the Beer Mile, Eggnog Mile races — like the 2nd annual Del Campo Eggnog Mile in Fair Oaks, Calif. — consist of runners chugging 12 ounces of eggnog before each lap around a race track (four laps = 1 mile). If you've got a stomach of steel and are chock-full of holiday spirit, search for an eggnog mile race near you.



The Amazing New York Scavenger Hunt: Holiday Edition

The people at PGO Events run public scavenger hunts in New York City throughout the year. Dec. 7 is their holiday edition. It's part scavenger hunt, part obstacle course and New York-centric. What better way to explore the city and its holiday delights by doing crazy things with friends (or people who WILL become your friends). Exercise your noggin and your body. Everyone who crosses the finish line receives a free beer!