Tis’ the season to look ridiculous and run (or ride) through the streets of Atlanta. As athletes, we’re always looking for excuses to jazz up our already crazy looking leggings, compression gear and safety lights. Running and cycling groups around town are donning Santa hats, Christmas lights and jingle bells for holiday parties throughout December. And like all good athletes, we burn our calories and then refuel with beer and snacks.
Here are RootsRated's top 7 picks for holiday group runs and rides in Atlanta.
1. Highland Runners Holiday Party
Date: Dec. 9
Time: 6:30 p.m.
This social group has runners of all levels, and the group splits into two distances: 3 and 5 miles. For the special holiday run, San Francisco Coffee is serving warm beverages and the store will raffle off an entry for the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k. See the event and RSVP here.
2. Christmas Lights Ride with Atlanta Cycling
Date: Dec 10 (at the Vinings store)
Time: 6:30 p.m.
The rolling hills and elegant houses in Vinings are the perfect backdrop for this holiday lights-viewing ride. Cyclists are encouraged to decorate their bikes with lights and other festive baubles. The hour-long ride will be moderately-paced, and the group will go out to dinner afterwards. Find the ride info here.
3. Santa Ride in Honor of Warren Bruno at Atkins Park Tavern
Date : Dec. 10
Time: 5:30 p.m.
The streets of Virginia Highland will be filled with blinking cyclists, all riding for a cause. While there is no fee, a suggested donation of $25 will go toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After the ride, all cyclists will vote for the best costume for a chance to win a commuter bike. Say cheers to the season with free beer as well.
4. Holiday Run at West Stride
Date: Dec. 10
Time: 6:15 p.m.
Each month, local running store West Stride leads a run from [Red Brick Brewing](redbrickbrewing.com) (NOTE: This year the run will leave from West Stride ). For this holiday edition, runners can choose from loops of 3 and 5 miles. After the run, the brewery is serving up snacks and beer.
5. Phidippides Holidaze Ugly Running Sweater Party
Date: Wednesday December 17 (Sandy Springs) & Thursday 18 (Ansley Mall)
Time: 6:15 p.m. (Sandy Springs)& 6:30 p.m. (Ansley Mall)
The crazy crew at the Midtown store always encourages crazy outfits and the runners don’t disappoint. The stores will hold contests for the ugliest, "runniest" costumes, and prizes include gift certificates and running gear. One of the catches- you have to participate in the dance contest to win! At Ansley Mall, Mizuno is sponsoring a fundraiser for Back on My Feet Atlanta and runners are encouraged to donate.
6. Big Peach Running Company – Midtown
Date: December 18
Time: 6:30 p.m.
This is the Midtown store’s second anniversary, so they’re combining the holidays with an anniversary celebration. Local neighbors GA Sports Chiropractic/Massage, OrangeTheory Fitness and Blast Midtown will be sharing some sweet deals with the runners. Last year’s party involved a dance party and DJ, so expect the same this year. 7. Holiday Run with Adidas at West Stride
Date: Dec. 20
Time: 8 a.m.
Deck out in holiday gear, night safety lights and tacky sweaters for a run with distances spanning 3 to 20 miles. Fluids will be offered along the way for longer runs, and afterwards, festive treats and holiday fun will ensue.