The annual Santa Run took place in downtown Ogden on Nov. 24, prior to the Christmas parade and lighting of the tree.
Hundreds braved 35 degree temperatures to take part in the event. Ogden local Matt Sandstrom, who has run in over 100 5Ks, won the race.
“I’m a consistent runner across the valley,” Sandstrom said. “I like running, and I figured it would be a good opportunity to have some fun and get a good late fall
Sandstrom embraces Christmas traditions, which was a motivating factor in his participation in the Santa Run.
“I love Christmas,” Sandstrom said. “I run all year, but this is a fantastic time. It gives you the opportunity to meet people and enjoy the festivities.”
Dale Winkler has now taken part in the Ogden run twice. He said he enjoyed his experience more the second time around.
“I think there were a lot more people this time,” Winkler said. “This was well-attended, and it was a lot of fun.”
Winkler said he thinks the Santa Run provides a transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
“Everyone is dressed as Santa, so it gives this a fun feel,” Winkler said. “It’s a good time for the community to get together and watch people run, and then you have the light parade afterwards and the village opening. It gets you excited about Christmas.”
While the temperatures were cold, Sandstrom said running the entire time helped to keep him warm.
“It was a hard effort, and I had to push,” Sandstrom said. “That breeze was pretty rough, it was chilling. Running kept us warm, and I was able to come out on top.”
When Sandstrom started the race, he did not view the event as a competition. However, his opinion changed after he crept closer to the top.
“I came to have fun,” Sandstrom said. “I started in the middle of the pack, but then I started to pass people. The guy in front wasn’t that far ahead of me, so I figured I would go for it.”
Sandstrom had momentum coming into the race, as he had just participated in a 5K two days prior.
“I had just run in a half-marathon on Thursday,” Sandstrom said. “I was kind of tired, but it worked out. I just thought I would push myself. The faster you run, the warmer you get. That was good motivation.”
Sandstrom said he recommends the Santa Run for anyone who wishes to feel the holiday spirit.
“It’s fun for the whole family and friends,” Sandstrom said. “Come out, get some cookies and hot chocolate, put on the suit and go have a good time.”