Racing to The Holidays! On The Run

The Latest Running News, Notes, and More from Sportswrap Running reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving and you got time to spend with friends and family! Now we’re on to December! You know what that means?  Time to get ready for the hrScene Virtual Holiday party!  Gotta find a virtual ugly sweater, too!

We had a “Ho-ho-ho” lot of holiday runs this week!  With only a few races on the holiday schedule, there were many people at the few races getting their run on.

A few weeks ago, the Harbor Lights Half Marathon weekend was a wet one on Sunday but the light shone bright for Blue-Moon-Harbor-Lights-LogoBrandon Lord of Charlottesville, winning the half with a great time of 1:06:06. Norfolk’s Will Christian showed up strong for the 757 in fourth with a solid 1:08:38. The ladies were led by Bethany Sachtleben who rocked a 1:17:48. A big Shout Out to all who braved the conditions.  I played music at mile one handing out those first mile high-fives and everyone looked strong early.  The day before, the 5K went off smoothly and with no rain at all. Ryan Foster was super fast in 16:09 while the women’s champion was Katie Buenaga with 19;32.

Thanksgiving Day everyone was “On The Run,” starting with the Fast Before the Feast 5k, won by Matthew Paragas in 17;23 over the 3.1 mile course.  The women’s champ was Yorktown’s Rachel Rabbitt, with a quick time of 19:36.  Yes, that is her name.  She must be fast!

On the Peninsula, Chesapeake’s Blake Therot outran over two thousand entrants at the Blue Talon 5K in 15:23.  That is moving!  Williamsburg’s Stephen Chantry, 60 years young, gets a “Turkey Day Shout Out” for a solid 18:14.  Just seconds behind, Edann Brady became the leading lady with a winning time of 18:36.  Good times in the ‘Burg!

On the south side, it was a perfect day to race.  Speedy runners were everywhere at the Tidewater Striders Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 10K at Mount Trashmore.  Chesapeake’s Jeremy Greenwald was the winner with a swift 34:18 and the ladies champ was Lindsey Graybill  in 38:25.  A south side “Shout Out” to the legend, 59-year-old speedster Pete Gibson who still shows us that age is just a number with a 37:57 for the 6.2 mile course.

Along the water at Sandbridge at the Charlie Normile Turkey Trot Race for the Fallen, Sean Helmke was the overall winner in 16:15, while two-time Olympic marathon qualifier Renee High is back to her winning ways as the ladies champion cruised to a 17:49 win.  I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s great to see Renee return after having been injured.  We are all big Renee High fans!

Ready to Race this Weekend? 

Plenty of races return to the schedule including races on Saturday and Sunday.  Up in Yorktown, check out the Run with the Son 5K for Haiti Saturday Morning.  You can get in on the fun by checking out

During the holiday season if you’re looking to do a holiday-themed run on Saturday, head to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and you’ll find the Jingle Bell 5k.  Say “Hi” to my friends from Mettle Events.  They will be out in full force.

Also, at Mount Trashmore the Third Annual Reindeer Rally 5K dashes away at 8 a.m.  I told you! Holiday races are coming!

On Sunday the Christmas Town 8K returns to Busch Gardens.  A friendly reminder: There is NO Packet Pickup on Race day!   If you want to go back to school, the Bruin 5K Dash races away Sunday morning from Western Branch High School.

With the holidays, we have to budget ourselves.  Whether it’s gifts or expenses, money can add to the seasonal stress. If you’re looking to do something close to home and to support a good cause, you can be a big help for smaller events and make a huge difference. Check out this interview for the Ride to a Wish Frostbite 5K  this weekend. I caught up with Don Coberly, founding member of the Ride to a Wish Foundation, who gave us details on how you can help by going “On the Run” Saturday:

Making a wish come true, if they can get 100 runners Saturday for this run in Chesapeake.   I hope you think about it if you haven’t registered for another race.  Visit to register on  Thanks Don for the time.  Know Hampton Roads runners will come out, have some fun, and support a great cause Saturday at Oak Grove Lake Park!Flex at YMCA Mile

Keep sending us those great photos pictures and comments!

That’s all the time we have for this week. Keep on racing and I’ll keep being your biggest cheerleader, Hit me up with a story or cool news about great runners in the area at  Hope I see you soon… On the Run!