Ugly Sweater "5K" Race Recap

by - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A few weeks ago, when Emily asked me if I wanted to run the Ugly Sweater 5K with her and our friends, Anne and Jennifer, I'll admit I was hesitant mainly because the race was an untimed, fun run at National Harbor.

Ugly Sweaters, Beautiful People. Race finishers! #uglysweaterrun #runchat #fitfluential
Jennifer, Emily, Anne and me

After a few epic race disasters at National Harbor (cough Hot Chocolate Run cough cough), I had pretty much sworn off all races there, and I wasn't too stoked about throwing down money on an untimed race entry.


  • I really like running races with friends.

  • I'm not in my best running shape right now, so I'm OK not taking my running too seriously.

  • I sort of loved the idea of a fun, holiday-themed raced.

So, I threw down the race entry fee, snagged myself an ugly sweater and hoped and prayed that parking and running at National Harbor wouldn't be a nightmare.

Ugly sweater selfie!

The four us showed up with plenty of time to spare, and parking actually wasn't a disaster. The day was starting on a great note!

National Harbor also had some nice indoor bathrooms for us to use before the race, and we had some extra time so we were able to snag a picture in front of the big, gorgeous Christmas tree.



As we lined up to wait for the race to start, I was getting such a kick out of all the ugly sweaters that people had. Those new NFL ugly sweaters were very prominent among the crowd.

The race started in waves, which was awesome to help maintain crowd levels on some of the more narrow parts of the course. My one complaint about the waves is that the race organizers let people with strollers or dogs and walkers in every single wave, rather than having them all start at the back of the pack.

So I started in the second wave and had to dodge a lot of walkers in the first quarter mile of the race because I caught up to them in a few minutes.

Guys let's talk about how bad my running form is here...

Something must be supppppper interesting on the ground

The course itself wasn't anything too exciting. It's just the typical loop they use around National Harbor for all races. Except, it was shorter than the typical loop. Turns out the race was only 2.6 miles not 3.1 (That's why I put 5K in quotation marks in the title.)

Oh look my head is sort of up in this one

As I waited for the rest of our group to finish, I heard multiple people walk by, look at their phones or Garmins and say the course ranged somewhere from 2.65 to 2.68 miles. So yea, definitely not a 5K.

24 minute "5K" can I say it's a new PR?

Though in the spirit of trying to enjoy the "fun run," I decided not let it bother me too much. (I know, this must be shocking to those of you who have been reading a while and have seen my rants about other races.)

Heck, in the spirit of really enjoying this race, I actually grabbed a post-race adult beverage.


I usually don't partake mainly because I don't like beer and that's all races offer, but hey this race had some Angry Orchard so I grabbed one.

Full disclosure though, I took about three sips and was like yea, I cannot be drinking this right now, and into the trash it went.

But overall despite the short course, I actually had a pretty fun time. Races with friends are always fun, and I'm sort of starting to get my running mojo back again after all my injuries. I actually looked at potential spring half marathons today!

And on that note, I'll end with our pre-race selfie.

Ugly Sweater 5K selfie! @emilyyahr @jengirard2013 @annemn #runchat #fitfluential

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  1. Emily1:16 PM

    Dogs were allowed?? See you next year! :)

  2. Emily G2:11 AM

    you had to weave in and out of strollers and it was still that short? The organizers should be embarrassed!

  3. omg that Hot Chocolate Run still brings back nightmares when I think about bad races! What a disaster...

    I love the idea of a sweater run, although I'm competitive and would want it to be timed!