Friday, December 26, 2014

A Christmas Story Run Recap

Photos by OHventures

A Christmas Story House
3159 W 11th Street
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 298-4919

We all know the tale of little old Ralphie - the boy who wanted nothing more for Christmas than a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, but was repeatedly denied of his request by Santa, his teacher, and his parents - all warning him by retorting, "you'll shoot your eye out!" 

We followed Ralphie throughout the cult classic movie "A Christmas Story" on his quest to convince others he should get his prized BB gun. Along the way, we are introduced to such iconic scenes and images, such as the pink bunny suit, the tongue frozen to the flagpole, and of course the infamous leg lamp!

The movie is played every year during the holiday season - including a 24-hour repetitive showing on TBS on Christmas Day. If you haven't seen this 1983 movie (set in the 1940s), then you are certainly missing out on a huge piece of American culture!

What some people might not realize is that a large portion of scenes from A Christmas Story were filmed in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. The home of Ralphie and his family can be found at 3159 W. 11th Street, still standing in all of its yellow and green glory - gawdy Christmas lights and tacky leg lamp still visible year 'round. The house is open to the public for tours 7 days a week, except for major holidays. The house was reconstructed inside (since most of the interior shots were filmed on a sound stage) to resemble the interior from the film.

To celebrate the film's popularity, and to raise money to galvanize the neighborhood and provide upkeep for the landmark for years to come, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and A Christmas Story House Neighborhood Restoration Project have created the A Christmas Story 5K/10K in 2013. 

The race starts in Public Square in downtown Cleveland, with the 5K finish line located directly in front of the A Christmas Story House (and the 10K finish line located where the race began). Race participants receive great swag, including a movie-themed medal and t-shirt, and loads of post-race fuel, the most important of which being "rich chocolate Ovaltine," as enjoyed by Ralphie himself. 

Best of all, runners receive a ticket (located on their bib) to enter and tour the house for free! 

Of course, I had to jump on the bandwagon to run in this race on December 6, 2014. It contains so many elements of the things I love: running, Christmas, and a healthy serving of childhood nostalgia!

I was certainly not alone in the nostalgia department, as many folks were decked out in costumes inspired by characters in the film - there were burglars (from a dream sequence in which sheriff Ralphie "shoots" a bunch of intruders), pink bunnies, elves, and even leg lamp costumes!!

Because I decided late in the game that I would make the trek to Cleveland to run, I had to settle with an ugly Christmas sweater and a Santa hat. They did the trick for sure! I met up with my fraternity brother Jason (who now lives in town) and we ran at a leisurely pace in the chilly lakeside air. We completed the run in approx. 28:36, retrieved our swag, and gawked in marvel at the A Christmas Story house (photo above).

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