Racing into the Holidays


As some people gear up for the holidays by pulling ornaments out of the attic or setting candles in windows, others take to the streets to run and compete in races.

Lakeside has its own race, the Lakeside Viking 5k, held this year on December 16th. Race director Chris Nasser said that the Oak Grove route “results in not only the ability for a family friendly course with walkers and stroller pushers enjoying the route, but also for the determined 5K runner to… set a PR (personal record).” In 2016, the race attracted about twenty walkers, five stroller pushers, and five people with dogs. Last year senior William York, a baseball player by trade, felt that he “was either not going to be able to finish the race at all, or… was going to kill the race.” At the finish line, he felt that he hit right in between, running a little slower than expected, but beating Coach Rick Barbe in the race to receive extra credit in his class.

Winner, Winner, Ham Dinner

Last year, former LHS student Morgan Mihalis took home the all-around female win in the form of a frozen ham.

Photo by Chris Handley

Atlanta’s rich history of running stems from the Peachtree Road Race, held each year on the 4th of July since 1970. Coach Barbe started running the Peachtree Road Race with his dad when he attended Georgia State and when his dad taught there. “After class I’d meet with him and we’d run around Downtown Atlanta” said Coach Barbe. Math teacher Michael Young got his start running with the same race. “I was running ever since I was a little kid… As soon as I could run the Peachtree Road Race when I was 10, I did that every year,” said Mr. Young.

Runners must brave the winter weather to toe the starting line or just get out running during the holidays. This year, the Atlanta Christmas 5k was cancelled due to a surprise snow over the weekend to keep thousands of runners off the icy roads. Disappointed in not being able to run the race, I set out on a run through Lakeside’s neighborhoods, soon to discover just why the race was cancelled. A minute into my run, the snow had already soaked my shoes and socks. For every foot forward I moved, my feet slid back a few inches because of the icy sidewalks. Passing cars splashed puddles of melted snow onto me and the wind made that water nice and chilly. I felt like I had trekked through a war zone as I stripped off layers of running gear in my foyer.

The Man to Beat

Out of over the forty costume runners last year, many runners target to beat the “fit Santa” pacer, who certainly didn’t drink milk and eat cookies the night before.

Photo by Chris Handley

Despite how torturous running can seem, the challenge attracts thrill-seekers and those wanting to stay in shape. “At the end of [our first half marathon], we felt like we could possibly tackle a marathon so we trained for that,” said Mr. Young. Unsatisfied by the 13.1 miles of a half marathon, Mr. Young has now completed eight marathons in eight different states. The Nation’s Triathlon, held in Washington, D.C., consists of a mile swim, a 25 mile bike, and a 10 kilometer run, plenty of distance for triathlon newbie Lisa Slappey. “I had never run. My last bike had a basket on the front, so [my first triathlon] was very out of the box for me,” said Mrs. Slappey. During the mile swim across the Potomac River, Mrs. Slappey remembers flipping onto her back to just cruise and enjoy the unique vantage point of the Jefferson Memorial from the water.

While training for the triathlon, Mrs. Slappey fundraised with Team In Training (TNT) which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run raises profits for local charitable organizations and lets the hard working fundraisers romp Virginia Highlands in Speedos. Last year, they raised $80,000 for CHRIS 180, an organization that provides mental health counseling to children, teens, and parents impacted by the foster care system in Georgia.

In It to Win It

This year, after a solid race for Coach Barbe and a medal for teacher Tracey Anderson, they both warm up in the Fine Arts Building lobby.

Photo by Jake Tubesing

Whether running to raise money for a charity or just aiming to set a PR this holiday season, try and get out and run. Running provides a community of people to ask for training advice and receive support from: the perfect way to spread holiday cheer. So lace up those running shoes, and brave the wind and ice!

It's a Wrap!

Thank you to all the ITL Coaching and Perfomance members and Lakeside Foundation Volunteers who made the LHS 5k possible.

Photo by Jake Tubesing

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