By Sherry Lucas
Clinton’s annual Yule Run hardly needs red noses to light its way, but the event’s third outing — this year with a “Run, Run, Rudolph” theme — is poised again to light up spirits. With the mask mandate and social gathering restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Yule Run is pivoting to an all-virtual event, rather than its traditional pre-Christmas Parade outing.
Growing steadily since its 2018 start, the run drew 75 its first year and doubled that appeal for 150 participants in 2019. This year, the Yule Run had already gathered about 100 sign-ups by mid-November with the race still weeks away, and was poised to stay on-track even as the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of many runs this season.
Yule Run Chairman Nathan Cummins, an avid runner himself, has only logged two races so far this year, compared with his usual pre-COVID ten or fifteen, and was eager to get back out there on Clinton’s streets with his fellow foot traffic.
“We’re in growth mode,” he says of the Yule Run. “It’s still a young race, and the key to that is getting our name and logo out there and growing, growing with your runners, just growing every year.”
To keep up that pace and, in keeping with pandemic adjustments, organizers had initially planned on an in-person race, with a virtual option. But they also knew there was a possibility, if circumstances warranted, that it would need to be a fully virtual event. And, that’s precisely what’s happened.
“It has become more of a thing this year, due to COVID,” Cummins says. “You run the race at your own time, and your own route. You just kind of do it on your own. A lot of times, people do it for good causes, and they also do it for the medal and a T-shirt, designed around the race theme.
“Everybody loves the bling,” Cummins says of the medals that mark each runner’s or walker’s completion of the race. “Everybody gets a medal, even if you didn’t run first, second or third.”
Those who registered for the live race December 5 will be automatically entered in the virtual race.
“We will still send to anyone who signs up a medal and T-shirt via the mail, and they will be able to complete the race at any time of their choosing.”
Yule Run Clinton 2020, presented by Continental, offers choices of a 5K Run, a 5K Walk and an 8K Run. The annual course takes walkers and runners through Clinton’s main business core — Olde Towne and the Clinton Boulevard District — all festively decorated for the Christmas holiday season. The Yule Run is hosted by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Cummins, a partner with the CPA firm Main & Company, is treasurer on the Chamber’s board of directors, and a past board president.
Yule Run registration is $35; sign up at runsignup.com.