This holiday season, runners and joggers in Carmel can come back for another helping of the popular Donut 5K race.
The event will be held at 9 a.m. Dec. 19 in Central Park in Carmel. Participants can register at www.carmelroadracinggroup.com for $30 for ages 13 and older and $15 for ages 6 to 12. The event is free for ages 5 and younger.
This is the ninth running of the holiday 5K but the second year with the donut theme. Last year, race organizer Todd Oliver rebranded the race with a sponsorship from Jack’s Donuts that includes hot chocolate and donuts at the finish line. As a result, he saw a 40 percent spike in participation up to around 1,000 registered runners. He’s already ahead of pace for 2015 and expects around 1,200 people this year.
Although there’s a fun theme, Oliver said it’s still a serious race with cash purses for the top three finishers: $200 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third. He said casual runners will enjoy dressing up in Santa hats and Christmas clothes and warming up with sweet treats at the end.
“Serious runners will run all year round,” Oliver said. “But we like to do the fun stuff because it’s closer to the holidays. It’s helping some people get some physical activity and exercise during a time of year when many might be doing a lot of eating and staying indoors.”
The first thousand registered will receive a free German-made knit hat and the first 500 will receive a Santa hat and beard to wear. All paid participants receive a T-shirt.
Mimosas will be available at the finish line and there’s a Fat Tire Beer “recovery room” for adults. The DJ for the Indiana Pacers will play music as runners compete.
For 2015, Oliver also added some pet-related prizes since dogs can run with their owners, such as an award for the fastest dog and best dressed mutt. Last year, between 50 to 70 dogs ran with participants.
Attendees are encouraged to bring dog and cat food, blankets and toys to donate to the Hamilton County Humane Society, German Shepherd Rescue and Indianapolis Animal Care & Control. There’s also a silent auction including pet baskets.