Ready, set, put on costume, go!

Carol EvansOur Town Outdoors

Our area’s runners, hikers and mountain bikers never seem daunted by the challenges of nature – in fact, that’s when they appear to get more creative in enjoying their sports.

This month exemplifies that the most, thanks to the holiday season.

Obviously, there’s tonight’s WIVK Christmas Parade in downtown Knoxville, where everyone is encouraged to dress festively and step out to enjoy floats, bands, twirlers, dancers and, of course, Santa Claus.

But looking ahead the next 10 days, you could have some serious fun, either with the regular runs and rides hosted by our many fine beer establishments or with a number of special events.

Take the Christmas 5K/1K Wine Run tomorrow (12/7) at World’s Fair Park. The 1K is actually a wine-tasting walk! And the 5K is pet friendly and will have prizes for the best-dressed human/pet combo. Plus, the event is being sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward ending homelessness! That one may be hard to top.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, two events are destined to get participants and spectators into the holiday spirit. There’s the Reindeer Run 5K Road Race & 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk in Maryville, which benefits the Empty Pantry Fund, and the Ugly Christmas Sweater 5K, starting at Bearden Beer Market, which benefits Second Harvest Food Bank. That’s a lot of running and a lot of love for the community.

Next weekend will bring us the Hot Chocolate Hike with a View on Friday, Dec. 13, at Seven Islands State Birding Park. On Dec. 14, the Jingle Bell Run at World’s Fair Park benefits the Arthritis Foundation, and a little something Knoxville likes to call the Tour de Lights takes over downtown and North Knoxville with a free, family-friendly bike ride. Can you say costume contest?

Find details on all these events and more in the Outdoor Knoxville calendar.

Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come.

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