By Sherry Lucas
On the one hand, it’s a fun run-up to the holiday season. On the other, it’s a great way to burn off the Thanksgiving excess and bank a calorie deficit, all ready and waiting for that Christmas cookie deposit.
Either way works, and yule love the results, the camaraderie and yes, that medal! Yep, it’s time again for the annual Yule Run, presented by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. This year’s theme just couldn’t be sweeter: “You Can’t Catch Me!” from the kids’ folk tale and song, “The Gingerbread Man.”
As is custom, the run’s theme ties into that of the annual Clinton Christmas Parade, “A Gingerbread House Christmas.” The run is sponsored by Continental Tire.
The 2022 Yule Run dawns on parade day, with a 7:30 a.m. start on December 3, with a 5K Run/Walk and an 8K Run Race categories, with actual in-person and virtual options. To sign up for or donate to the Yule Run, visit RunSignUp.com/YuleRunClinton2022.
Its fifth annual year marks a milestone for the still-young event.
“It has grown, and we’re hoping for a record number of participants,” said Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Anna Nutt.
This year’s medal features the gingerbread man, that charming little escapee of folk tale fame.
“We’ve got a medal for every race we’ve done so far. We improve them every year, and make them a little shinier and nicer,” said Yule Run Chairman Nathan Cummins. Medals tie in with the theme of each year’s run and, like T-shirts, are often viewed as collectors’ items by participants.
The Yule Run itself has had a great run, with registrations and participation growing every year since its start. The addition of a virtual aspect in 2020 may have been spurred by the pandemic, but it has proved a useful element for other reasons, too, as a way to connect with interested runners who may want to join the Yule Run in spirit, but can’t do it with feet on the brick streets that actual day.
“Even though we run live this year, and we did last year, we have virtual runners, as well,” Cummins said. “They submit their time online, and we send them a medal and T-shirt, like everybody else.”
The virtual arm allows the run to reach friends and family who are out of town, Clinton natives who live elsewhere or even runners nursing an injury who might be able to participate later. A big bonus, too, is the way it allows employees of run sponsor Continental, even at other company locations across the country and the world, the chance to compete in Clinton’s Yule Run.
“Running is a big part of their culture, and this allows groups from different locations to run and compete with each other,” Cummins said.
Runners come at 7:30 that morning for the race, and then cool down, stick around, have some refreshments and enjoy the Clinton Christmas Parade at 10 a.m.
Last year saw 248 sign-ups for the virtual and in-person run.
“We really hope to have three hundred this year,” Cummins said. “We’ll see.”
Another thing to see? The costume potential. Last year saw several runners decked out in Christmas costumes and movie-themed garb.
Might one see some gingerbread men scampering along the route this year?
“I hope so,” Cummins said. “It would make for a great time!”