It’s a jolly dash of red, white, and beards—the Santa 5K Run and Walk, put on by Ri Ra’s Irish Pub. There are no Grinches allowed: participants are required to wear a Santa Claus suit. The beards, hats, jackets, pants, and belts were provided prior to the race. Racers were treated to an Irish breakfast, and all the proceeds went to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta for kids with cancer. Mike Feulner, a 60-year-old retired state employee from Duxbury, ran with a stroller, finishing in the back of the pack of almost 1,400 Santas.
VS: Have you done this race before?
MF: This is my second year. I did it the first year they had it (2011), and then I volunteered in 2012.
VS: How hard is it to run in a Santa suit?
MF: The suits are nicely done, but they’re hard to run in. They’re not exactly tailor-made, so the bottoms of my pant legs were dragging in the snow. They’re not really heavy, but they are cumbersome.
VS: I’m guessing this is a family-friendly event?
MF: Absolutely. It’s all about that. In fact, I did the race with my girlfriend’s grandson in a stroller so I was at the very back of the pack. This race is about fun; it’s not about setting a personal record or for the competition, but about capturing the essence of the holiday season. Just being on Church Street and seeing the amazement on the faces of the children who are lining the streets and seeing all the Santa suits really captures the event. Church Street is so beautiful this time of year, and we had the luxury of a little snowfall. It’s a gorgeous route in a very nice spot that we should never take for granted.
VS: Is it mostly local people?
MF: Actually there were quite a few tourists, including some French-speaking visitors who travelled here for the event. There was a Canadian family running next to us with their stroller. There’s a nice mixture of people.
VS: What’s the best part of the race?
MF: I would say it’s the casualness of it. It’s almost more of a social event rather than a racing event or running event. It’s more about enjoying the holidays, although some people take it very seriously and there were some fast times. Some people come to compete, but others walked most of it and a few were drinking coffee on the route. It’s really not about anything else other than having fun. When you turn the corner from the bottom of Main Street to go up Battery Street, it’s nothing but red Santa suits for as far as you can see. It’s an amazing sight.
VS: How was the breakfast?
MF: We had eggs, orange juice, sausage, and Canadian bacon since the parent organization for the event is in Canada. It was well organized and well done. You could have breakfast at City Hall auditorium where they had a lot of room or just go to Ri Ra. The food was absolutely terrific and plentiful, and you didn’t have to wait in line. There was even a full bar available, and some people were drinking draft beer before the event.
VS: Would you do it again?
MF: Absolutely. I’ll do it every year.