This time of year, we could all use some exercise. This festive, dress-up fun run raises money for charity.
The LP Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, N.B., Canada has had a running club for a number of years now. In addition to our annual summertime Kids Kilometer Fun Run, we also hold a yearly Reindeer Run in partnership with the River Valley Runners (our local run club) and the Salvation Army.
A winter-friendly way to get outdoors
The idea came about because our run club usually stops meeting from November to March when the roads are just too slushy and it gets dark by late afternoon, but we still wanted to get together to do something fun. (Running circles around the indoor track just doesn't cut it.)
Now we meet on a Saturday morning in early December every year. We wear our silliest Christmas sweaters, reindeer antlers, Santa hats and flashing pins, and run around the neighborhood to raise money for charity.
Depending on how cold and icy it is, we usually go anywhere from 3 to 5 kilometers, and we also have a 1-kilometer loop for the kids. The course isn't timed, and people are welcome to walk.
There is no pre-registration; we just make a poster and an event page on Facebook. There is also no cost; we just put out a collection cup and the money goes to charity.
People start showing up around 9 a.m. We put on our sparkles and festive headgear, I warm us up with a few minutes of yoga stretches, and then we head out into the cold!
Pedestrians stop to gawk, and people peer out their living room windows to wave and cheer us on in the cold.
After our run we come back and have breakfast with Santa (pancakes, fresh fruit, sausage and hot chocolate, all provided for by the Salvation Army) and get our picture taken with the big guy himself.
The media often show up to get shots of us running and interview me about the program. The kids usually leave with a few candy canes tucked in their pockets and huge smiles on their faces.
One of the best parts is we try to get the multicultural association involved, and a lot of newcomer families join us. Often this is their first winter in Canada, and they get a real kick out of running in the snow and seeing us in all our holiday bling.
While this might not be the most conventional library program you've ever heard of, it sure is a lot of fun and good exercise. It also helps promote community spirit in what can be a challenging time of the year.
Consider hosting a Reindeer Run in your neck of the woods (or beach or desert!). It brings a lot of great publicity to the library and raises money for a good cause.