Hundreds of runners don festive outfits for charity event

A fun way to support the Community Harvest Food Bank

On Thursday, December 21, 2023, hundreds of runners and walkers gathered at JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House in Huntertown, Indiana, for the 10th annual Ugly Sweater Run. The event was organized by Fleet Feet Fort Wayne, a local running store, and sponsored by Brooks Running, a leading running shoe company. The participants donned their most outrageously festive and tacky outfits, making this the most colorful and cheerful race of the year.

The Ugly Sweater Run was not a competitive race, but a fun run that aimed to support the Community Harvest Food Bank, a non-profit organization that provides food assistance to people in need in northeast Indiana. The admission to the event was three non-perishable food items, which were collected and donated to the food bank. According to the organizers, the event was able to donate 1,000 pounds of food last year, and they hoped to surpass that amount this year.

The event also featured a 3-mile run downtown while viewing the holiday festival lights, and an ugly sweater contest, where the ugliest sweater won a prize. The first 350 participants that redeemed an in-store coupon also received a free commemorative pint glass. After the run, the participants enjoyed drinks, food, and fun at JK O’Donnell’s Irish Pub, where they celebrated the spirit of the season and the joy of giving.

A growing trend of ugly sweater runs across the country

The Ugly Sweater Run in Huntertown was not the only one of its kind in the country. In fact, there were several other similar events that took place in different states, such as North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas. These events also combined festive fitness and holiday fun, while raising money and awareness for various causes, such as education, health, and animal welfare.

Hundreds of runners don festive outfits for charity event

For example, in Asheville, North Carolina, the 4th annual Ugly Sweater Run 5K and 10K was presented by Hunter Subaru on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at The Riveter, a premier bike park and climbing wall. The event was part of the Holiday Hustle Series, a series of three races that encouraged runners to stay fit during the holiday season. The runners and walkers wore their most creative and ugly sweaters, and enjoyed delicious food, drinks, and refreshments, including adult beverages and coffee. The event also offered an ultra-soft, super comfy Ugly Sweater T-shirt, a commemorative finisher ornament, a free Hunter Subaru goody bag, and prizes for the most festive attire.

In Elkhart, Indiana, the Elkhart Education Foundation hosted the annual Ugly Sweater 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Sweater Stroll on Saturday, December 9, 2023, at the NIBCO Water and Ice Park. This event was open to runners, walkers, and their furry friends, who wore their best ugly sweaters and enjoyed the winter wonderland. The event also included a First State Bank photo booth, where the participants could take fun pictures, and a post-race party, where they could enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and music. The event raised funds for the Elkhart Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the students and teachers of the Elkhart Community Schools.

A positive impact on the community and the environment

The Ugly Sweater Run and other similar events not only provided a fun and festive way to exercise and socialize, but also had a positive impact on the community and the environment. By supporting various causes and organizations, the events helped to address the unique challenges and needs within the local areas, and fostered a sense of ownership and empowerment among the residents. By donating food, money, or other items, the events also helped to reduce waste and promote sustainability.

The Ugly Sweater Run and other similar events also demonstrated the power of creativity and innovation, as the participants showed off their original and unique outfits, made from recycled or reused materials, or bought from thrift stores or online platforms. The events also encouraged the participants to express their personality and style, and to have fun and laugh at themselves and with others.

The Ugly Sweater Run and other similar events were a delightful blend of festive fitness and holiday fun, that brought joy and happiness to the participants and the beneficiaries, and created lasting memories with friends and family.

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