Whether you’re considering running your first 5K or you already have a closet full of medals, A Christmas Tail 5K and Mutt Strut is the race for you. Held Saturday, December 8, and benefitting the Humane Educational Society, A Christmas Tail 5K is an out-and-back course that starts at 1885 Grill in St. Elmo, heads across Broad Street and onto the River Walk, and then turns back. The course is flat and fast, and cooler temperatures make running it a breeze. For beginner runners, this will be a great course to run your first 5K. If you prefer a brisk walk with your dog, you don’t want to miss the holiday-themed Mutt Strut.
Those participating in the 5K will have an opportunity to win awards in several divi- sions. Different than many races, winners will receive a commemorative ornament, and winners over 21 will also receive a commemorative pint glass that is good for discounts after the race at St. Elmo’s favorite spot for a cold one, the Tap House.
“I am excited to work with the Humane Educational Society because I believe in the work that they do with animals and ensuring they are cared for,” said Chris Calhoun, Tap House owner. “I believe [we are] a good fit because of the fact that I am animal-friendly and welcome animals onto the [Tap House] patio, as far as I am allowed to.”
In addition to hosting the event’s registration, the Tap House is also hosting A Christmas Tail VIP Brunch, sponsored by Taconooga.
“When I first visited the Humane Edu- cational Society four years ago, I [literally] cried while walking through the building,” said Taconooga owner Jenny Castro. “I wanted to grab [all of the animals] and hold and cuddle them to bring back the happiness in their eyes. From that night forward, the Humane Educational Society has held a special place in my heart, and really always will.
“We may not always be able to give the biggest contributions or donations, but we will always give the most we can,” Castro continued. “It also doesn’t hurt that we love working with the folks at the Humane Educational Society. The passion they have for the animals is really uplifting.”
Only 24 seats are available for the brunch, where guests will enjoy breakfast burritos, handmade Mexican chorizo, eggs, bacon, pico de gallo, salsas, tomatoes, on- ions, cheese, beans and aguas frescas (passion fruit and mango), all made from scratch. The Tap House will provide a “beermosa” for each guest 21 and over, as well. Brunch will be served following the 5K and Mutt Strut at 11 a.m.
If you’re not the running type, the Mutt Strut and costume competition is for participants of all ages and their canine friends. The Mutt Strut is a 1-mile fun walkstarting at 9:45 a.m., and participants are encouraged to dress themselves and/or their pet in their holiday best. HES will host a holiday pet costume contest following the Mutt Strut at the Tap House, and Angela Williams Photography will be on-site for pet photos, family photos and runner photos with Santa from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Angela’s work has been published in Fido Magazine, American Dog Magazine and First for Women Magazine, and she was a finalist in Best of the Best and featured on The Ellen Show. Photos with Santa will cost $25, with 20 percent of sales donated to help homeless animals at HES.
A Christmas Tail 5K and Mutt Strut has become a much-anticipated holiday event in St. Elmo and the surrounding area, with many runners and Mutt Strutters returning year after year.
“This race first caught my attention because it’s a running race and it had a picture of a dog - two of my favorite things!” said Sara Gibson, who has yet to miss the event. “I keep coming back because it raises money for a great cause and it is a flat, fast, PR-able 5K. I also think it’s really neat that it’s in St. Elmo instead of like most events that are downtown.
“It has a small, relaxed feel and easy parking, which makes race morning less stressful,” Gibson continued. “I am also super-excited that this year they are expand- ing the 5K awards to have the three-person team division and additional activities planned for after the race, making it more of an event!”
After the awards for the 5K and cos- tume contest are handed out, attendees can purchase food from food trucks, make their own ornament or treat for a shelter pet at a station hosted by the Humane Educational Society junior volunteers, and enjoy more festive fun at surrounding St. Elmo businesses.
If you’re looking for holiday fun that makes a difference for our community, you don’t want to miss A Christmas Tail 5K and Mutt Strut on Saturday, December 8. All proceeds benefit the mission of the Humane Educational Society. To participate, register at heschatt.org.