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Dasher, Dancer, and Prancer all made an appearance at the 22nd Annual Reindeer Run, as did Rudolph, Santa, several Christmas trees, a gift, and a snowman. Festively dressed runners and their canine companions milled about East Bay Street prior to the race, stretching and chatting while a curious fake snow-foam blew from the Roof Top Bar and Restaurant. Holiday music blared over the street as a firetruck laden with Christmas characters made its way down to Broad Street.

The buzzer sounded, and they were off! A large crowd remained behind to cheer on runners, and one couldn’t help noticing that the first athletes to cross the finish line were those who had not donned holiday apparel. Gradually tinsel-wrapped and tutu-wearing competitors pounded across the finish line, alongside individuals in full elf costume, hooded reindeer bathrobes, and an assortment of Santa hats.

Loud applause greeted all who completed the race, and attendees lingered long after the last runner had crossed the finish line. Partygoers checked out each other’s costumes and makeshift antlers, and one couldn’t help being impressed with Melody and Josh Beecher’s approach to this year’s Reindeer Run. The couple put their best foot forward dressed as a pair of reindeer, pulling along a wooden sleigh they built for injured pooch Thunder, who came dressed as Santa Claus. Melody explained, “Thunder hurt his knee, so we built a sleigh so he could still come with us!”

The Reindeer Run is presented by Piggly Wiggly and Half-Moon Outfitters, and is a family-oriented, pet-friendly 5K through the lower peninsula of downtown Charleston. The funds generated from the Reindeer Run help MUSC develop and maintain a variety of programs in the Children’s Hospital and the Darby Children’s Research Institute, including research in the prevention and treatment of childhood diseases.