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The City Journals

Runners don ugly sweaters to help kids stay warm this winter

Jan 09, 2019 02:48PM ● By Sarah Payne

Runners at the Ugly Sweater Fun Run. (Photos courtesy of Nick Coleman)

By Sarah Payne | [email protected]

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but for West Valley kids at Valley Crest Elementary it’s so delightful. 

Thanks to this year’s Ugly Sweater 5K fun run at the Family Fitness Center, these children get to bundle up this winter.
The Ugly Sweater Fun Run started out as a 5K to allow people to have fun running in their favorite ugly Christmas sweater. Last year, the Fun Run partnered with Mountain View Corridor for a free joint Fun Run to celebrate its opening day. Participants were asked to bring a donation for the food bank. Some 1,200 pounds of food were collected for people in need. 

Today, the Ugly Sweater Fun Run continues in its annual efforts to gather donations for those who need them. The 5K is free, and no timer is used to determine a winner, although prizes are available for the owners of the ugliest sweaters. Its purpose is twofold — donations and fun. Participants are free to run, or walk, at their own pace. This is the first year that the Family Fitness Center hosted the race on its own, instead of partnering with another organization. 

Nick Coleman, the facility and membership supervisor at the FFC, oversees the Ugly Sweater Fun Run. With the help of his coworker Parker Chappell, FFC director Jamie Young and Nancy Day, director of West Valley Parks and Recreation, he views the Fun Run as “a way to give back to our community.” 

This year, in place of food, the Ugly Sweater Fun Run was held to collect clothing for children. Items requested of participants included new or gently used jackets, socks, gloves, hats, and other cold-weather clothing. These items were then donated to Valley Crest Elementary. 

The turnout for the Ugly Sweater Fun Run has typically been about 30-40 participants, but in recent years the 5K run has grown in popularity. About 75 people signed up to participate in this year’s fun run.

“I feel that this is a good opportunity for us as a city to give back,” said Coleman, “to give our time and do what we can for the community.” The tradition will continue. The Ugly Sweater Fun Run is set to take place each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, kicking off the holiday season before the winter snows hit. The race took place this year on Nov. 17, at Centennial Park, located next to the FFC.

Runners who wore the four ugliest sweaters received prizes from the Family Fitness Center, including a day pass, a holiday light necklace and a movie day pass. Participants were generous. Five large boxes of warm clothing were donated to students of Valley Crest Elementary.