The 22nd edition of the Laurens YMCA Reindeer Run 5k is shaping up to be the biggest one yet.
Emily Dasher, vice-president of administration for the Laurens YMCA, said if early bird registration is any indication, the annual 5K road race that transverses West Main Street in Laurens should set a new record for participation when the starter’s pistol fires at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11.
“We’ve had more early bird registrations than we’ve ever had before,” Dasher said. “We’ve had 150 sign up so far.”
Last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, 203 runners registered for the Reindeer Run, setting a new mark. Not all of them took part on race day, but the 203 registrants is the number Dasher and other race organizers hope to break this year.
All money raised from the Reindeer Run goes to Laurens Y scholarship programs, and Dasher said those funds go a long way for local youth.
“We use (those funds) for every program we have whether it’s early child development, sports or membership in general,” she said. “It’s great to be able to provide those opportunities to youth who may not otherwise be able to afford it.”
The race also includes a 1-mile Kids Fun Run/Walk for agest 12 under, which will begin at 9:05 a.m. at the start-finish line.
While the Reindeer Run 5K is a fun holiday run, it also has drawn serious runners over the years, some of which are in their marathon off-seasons and use 5Ks such as the Reindeer Runs as tune-ups. The Laurens YMCA is offering $100 for the male and female 5K winners and $50 each for the runners-up.
Registration is $30 for the 5K and $5 for the fun run (add $10 for a t-shirt). Packet pickups for runners is set for Friday, Dec. 10 from 2-5:30 p.m. at the Laurens YMCA and on race day from 8-8:45 a.m. near the start-finish line.
The Reindeer Run is set to begin promptly at 9 a.m.