Spreading Christmas cheer with ARC

We had the opportunity to participate in Harrisonburg’s first ever Santa Run, Walk N Roll held by the Arc of Harrisonburg & Rockingham Co. It took place Friday night at 6:30 in downtown Harrisonburg, just before the Christmas parade. The Arc is a wonderful organization dedicated to providing adults with special needs the same opportunities that anyone else might enjoy. The Santa Run is fashioned after a normal 5k run/ walk, with a few twists. First, it was held on December 7th after dark (not a lot of competition from other 5ks). Second, at only ½ mile long it is geared so adults and teens with special needs can successfully complete the race. Third and my favorite, all participants get to wear a full Santa suit. So at 6:30 Friday evening, just 30 minutes before the sidewalks are packed with folks watching the parade, along with roughly 100 other Santa’s, we trekked ½ mile down Main Street.

I was teamed up with Jeremy who was a great sport even though the bright flashing lights were hurting his eyes. We made a great team because he was happy traveling at my pace and we set the course record (I didn’t say what record). Maybe I was filling out my suit too well, or somehow this group of kids missed the other 98 Santa’s in front of us, but one little girl let out a shy “Santa Claus?” as we walked by. Being the festive person I am, I let out a hearty “Ho, Ho, Ho!” which was quickly met by a “You’re not the REAL Santa!”

Jeremy and I finished up the race and then we met up with some other folks from Arc. We found a place inside to sit and as we waited for the car to pick them up, Rebekah made the whole night worthwhile. I had started the evening out by helping her get on her Santa jacket on and she was a little overwhelmed and not too excited about the event. Now an hour later, she was telling me she wanted to do it again. Just like a good movie, she had set the stage for a sequel next year, maybe we will have 200 Santa’s filling Main Street for Harrisonburg’s second annual Santa Run, Walk, N roll.

Hope you can join us.


Click here for more info about Arc


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  • By elizabeth

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