Reindeer Fun Run Moves to Aberdeen
By Tom Embrey
The Reindeer Fun Run is going south this year.
For the first time in its five-year history, the event will be held in Aberdeen, moving from its prior location in Southern Pines. The date for the race will remain the first Saturday in December. This year's event begins at 9 a.m. Dec. 3.
"We weren't looking to move, but when it all started to happen, it just steamrolled," said race chair Kate Petsolt.
Petsolt said a contagious excitement has surrounding the move.
"We knew it was a good move when we knew they could handle it, wanted it and had ideas to grow the event," she said.
The Reindeer Fun Run features a 1-mile Chick-fil-A Egg Nog Jog for children and a 5K run/walk and a 10K.
The race courses will showcase the rolling hills and beautiful views of Aberdeen, including a long, downhill finish into the downtown.
The Reindeer Run is the final race of the fall slate of the Sandhills Race Series, which seeks to encourage and recognize participation and performance in local racing and provide support to organizations coordinating running events for the promotion of fun, fitness and community causes.
Sallie Beth Johnson, an organizer of the SRS, said having a race in Aberdeen is a natural.
"We are always looking to grow the series and showcase Moore County, and this race will showcase another town," Johnson said.
She said they think the change of location could be a boost to enrollment.
"The Reindeer Fun Run is such a good cause and such a fun race, I think people will go anywhere to participate in it," Johnson said.
Bringing the race to Aberdeen has members of the Aberdeen Business Guild excited about the opportunity to showcase their town and its downtown businesses.
"People are going to learn about Aberdeen," said guild member Ariel Kowalick. "This (event) is all about letting people know about downtown and what it has to offer."
Another guild member, Mike Ratkowski, said he thinks events like the Reindeer Fun Run will only enhance Aberdeen's active business community.
"We need stuff like this to grow Aberdeen," he said.
Bringing people to downtown Aberdeen should be no problem. The Reindeer Fun Run has a loyal following. Last year, nearly 2,000 people participated.
There are a few new wrinkles to this year's race. First, organizers will be encouraging tailgating before the start of the race, and there will be an Adult Zone as part of the Reindeer Run After Party.
There will also be a Chick-fil-A Kids Zone for the children.
As always, proceeds from the event will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills, which has locations in Southern Pines and Aberdeen.
The race has generated $50,000 for the Boys and Girls Club, including $23,000 last year alone.
This year, Reindeer Fun Run organizers are hoping to increase donations by encouraging runners to form fundraising teams and collect pledges and donations for the Boys and Girls Club.
For $50, runners and nonrunners can sponsor a member of the Boys and Girls Club to run in the race.
For more information on the Reindeer Fun Run, sponsorships or to register, visit its website at reindeerfunrun.com. To learn more about the Sandhills Race Series, go to www.sandhillsraceseries.com.
Tom Embrey is a senior writer with The Pilot. Contact him by email at email@example.com.
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