This event was meaningful to me in a number of ways. First and foremost, the race was a benefit for the Foodbank, where I have gone to volunteer along with my fellow coworkers from Akron General Medical Center.
Getting the opportunity to help area folks in need of food and sustenance is a great way to spread holiday cheer. It was also wonderful getting the chance to run again in my new stomping grounds of Akron. I previously ran the Akron Marathon and was on such a high zooming through what I am now calling home.
Additionally, the fact that the Selfless Elf was a holiday themed race made it even more fun. I love Christmas SO MUCH, so anything that involves me dressing up in striped elf socks (provided to every runner), an elf hat with elf ears (provided by my mother), and a bright red jacket (provided by myself) is a winner in my book. Best yet, this attire was adorned by nearly every single runner - some elaborating on the elf/Christmas theme by wearing Santa hats, elf beards, elf shoes, reindeer antlers, wrapping paper, garland, blinking tree lights, and the list goes on!
Funny enough, out of all 30 races in 2012 and 2013, the Selfless Elf was the ONE AND ONLY race that rained. That is quite an accomplishment for running in Ohio's sporadic climate. It is pretty funny that the only rain occurred on the very last race of the year. It's as if Mother Nature did not want me to be able to brag about not having a single race with rain. Alas, the raindrops (which were plentiful), were in my book much better than sub-zero temperatures, which would be typical for this time of the year. Instead, it was in the 50s, which is better than the temperature for a lot of other events.
The course, although wet and peppered with puddles, was very easy-going with hardly any hills! Even though it was overcast, there was a lot of scenery. We started at the Foodbank (of course) and ran northeast on Opportunity Parkway, connecting to Bowery Street. We ran on Bowery until we reached Main Street and turned right by the Akron Civic. We then ran from Falor Street, to Bartges, to Dart Ave., where we crossed the finish line. I completed the race in 24:16 (placing 65/695), which was not too shabby considering the rain and early start time of 8AM.
Another cool factor of the Selfless Elf was getting to run as part of Team Compass, which is led by the founder of Compass Media, Doug Kish. Compass Media was a sponsor of the event, and is also the publishers of a number of articles I have written for the Akron/Canton area. Finally running an event with Doug and Compass Media was long overdue!
My friend Kyle, who I have met through working with the Akron Chamber, was also present, and he completed the race in an impressive time of approximately 20 minutes! He ended up winning first place in his age group with that lightning speed!
The event was a huge success, with over 750 elfish participants, and an impressive $30,000 raised for the Foodbank. I am very happy to have participated in such a fantastic event that enforces the spirit of giving and selflessness. Many thanks to Stephanie and everyone else at the Foodbank for making it possible!