So, for those that don’t know, part of the holiday classic film A Christmas Story was filmed here in Cleveland. The most recognizable icons are the house which can be found in the Tremont neighborhood of the city and downtown at what was then Higbee’s department store.
The history of the house is actually pretty interesting — back in 2004 a fan of the film bought it off of eBay at a time when it looked absolutely nothing like it did in the film. He then spent nearly twice as much as what he purchased it for making renovations to revert it back as much as he could. Only the exterior was seen in the movie — the interior of the home was shot on a sound stage so it’s not quite exact but he’s done a pretty good job with it. It’s tucked back in this little neighborhood off the main streets and as a longtime fan of the film it’s so much fun just driving along, turning a corner, and boom, there’s the house. Other homes in the nearby vicinity act as museum and gift shop.
As a city, Cleveland is very proud of our Hollywood claim to fame and at Christmas time there is no such thing as too many leg lamps. The film was released in 1983 and as part of the city wide 30th Anniversary celebrations there was the 5K & 10K race that I just had to sign up for.
Not only that, but I decided to dress up. I’m usually not one to opt for costumes but for this one I absolutely had to. Especially once I realized how much pink running gear I owned. Throw on a pair of bunny ears (thanks mom!) and I was set. Hopefully Aunt Clara would approve.
Why yes, as a matter of fact, I do own a set of mini leg lamp string lights.
As you can imagine, this race encouraged a huge variety of costumes: pink bunnies and bandits and leg lamps. I even saw one woman dressed like the mom carrying the Christmas turkey and at least two guys carried flag poles to mimic the Triple Dog Dare scene. It was absolutely beautiful.
The race route started downtown at Public Square, right in front of the very same department store windows were Ralphie first spied his beloved Red Ryder BB Gun. The space has since been turned into the Horseshoe Casino but one of the things I love best about the Horseshoe is that the designers kept much of the original interior. Growing up, I loved going to Higbees (those wooden escalators were the best) so as an adult I love walking in and still getting to see all the beautiful architecture from my childhood.
Both the 5K and 10K started at the same time and from downtown we turned onto the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge which took us into the Tremont neighborhood. Once there, the 5K ended at the actual A Christmas Story House while the 10K looped around and headed back towards the other finish line downtown.
Lemme tell ya: you don’t realize how long the Lorain-Carnegie bridge is until you have to run over it. Twice.
Along the course were awesome bits of film trivia.
My overall running was…okay. I started out really strong and was on target to have a time close to my time from the Rodeo Run 10K but around the halfway mark my right ankle started to bother me and I had to walk parts and then around mile 5 had to use the restroom so that added time (all of the restrooms at Tower City had ridiculously long wait times so I didn’t get a chance to go before the race. I also totally forgot to bring my ID otherwise I would have just used the restrooms in the casino.) In the end I finished at 1:37:23 which I’m not thrilled about but, c’est la vie. I haven’t been running as much so my endurance is not going to be where it was at the beginning of the year.
Of course, my oh-so-awesome parents were waiting there at the finish line for me and after crossing it I picked up my bad ass racing medal.
It actually says It’s a major award! Tell me that’s not the coolest thing ever. I mean, seriously.
While this race was designed around the 30th Anniversary movie celebrations I do hope they make it an annual event. Despite the crowds, it was so much fun seeing everyone in costume celebrating the movie and our city.
Love from the ashes,