12K’s of Christmas 12K

When out of town on vacation, one looks for races. Or at least I do. I was in Scottsdale for a conference and figured I needed to see what races were happening, because let’s face it, it’s 30* in Spokane and running in 5 layers and gloves is kind of depressing. I ended up finding two separate races and signed up for both of them because who doesn’t like extra medals to boot?

The 12K’s of Christmas 12K and 6K (plus a kids/Sled Race of 1.2K) is in it’s 10th year in Gilbert, AZ and a little over 30 min from where I was staying. I’ve been doing endurance races for close to 10 years and the 12K is a first for me, also a sad thought since I’ve been in Spokane for 2.5 years and we have Bloomsday (the largest 12K I think) and I’ve had to work the past 2 years on it.

The race was on Saturday, but I decided to get my bib on the Thursday at early packet pick up. It was at San Tan Ford in Gilbert, and I kind of wish I would have just waited until race day. Pick up was from 3-7 and part of the issue was not enough parking for people running in to get their bibs and swag. If you were local, it was useful, but since I was coming from further out, it took a bit of time to get there. You could get prior years socks for $1 and get some other fun looking stuff too though.

Race day was December 8 at Freestone Park. The packet pick up and vendor area opened around 7 AM and there were about 50ish vendors there. The goal of the race is to raise funds to get pets adopted and they encourage dogs to come with their humans if you have a furry 4 legged friend who likes to be outside. With that said, if your dog doesn’t like other dogs, not the race for them. Plenty of things to do pre race with some holiday themed singing and music going on. I got there just after 9 AM and there was still plenty of parking (free!). I browsed a little bit, but there was a lot of hurry up and wait. The 12K started at 10 AM and the 6K at 10:15AM.

The start/finish: in the park itself. I appreciated that runners without strollers or dogs were started first for the 12K and runners with dogs or strollers started in the back (yes, I’ve nearly been tripped by leashes or run down by strollers during races).

The course itself is a mix of gravel, road and sidewalk, so my legs were feeling the terrain change on more than one level. Distance markers every 1K with water stations every 1-2K or so with singers at quite a few of them. The course itself was flat and an out and back course that had two off shoots of an out and back as well to get you the full 12k. It was fun to actually costume watch while running. I ended up running down a Cindy Lou Who (hair and everything) at one point close to the finish.

Post race, food and water at the finish with little bundt cakes for the finishers. Good medal too! Keep in mind, if you do the 12K and the Scottsdale Half Marathon in the same weekend, you get an extra medal (who doesn’t like extra bling?). I also ran into a fellow Bibrave Pro, Emily after the race and caught up with her for a hot second before racing back to my hotel to shower and check out/switch hotels to be closer to the Scottsdale Half Marathon start/finish area (I kind of got kicked out of my hotel room. Whoops.).


About drrunner
8 time marathoner, 65 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. BibRave Pro, Doctor and a mix of insanity

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