Runners brave the cold to help the hungry

Runners brave the cold to help the hungry

Image Credit: Submitted

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank invites community members to bundle up and brave the cold weather to participate in the ninth annual Selfless Elf 5k on Dec. 18. Race participants are encouraged to dress in festive, holiday-themed costumes and running gear and run or walk the 3.1-mile course beginning and ending at the food bank’s main campus in Akron.

The race is one of the food bank’s signature events and is a celebration of the culmination of its Holiday Campaign. It’s a way for the community to support individuals and families in the region struggling with hunger throughout the holiday season.

“We are so excited to host this year’s Selfless Elf in person. It’s one of my favorite events of the year. To see so many families come together to show kindness, holiday cheer and support of the food bank and the families we serve, it’s inspiring,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the food bank. “We believe everyone deserves to share a special holiday meal with loved ones, and because of the community’s support, we can help families find joy together this holiday season.”

On race day Santa and Mrs. Claus will be onsite for pictures, and families will hear holiday music throughout the warehouse and carolers along the race route. The awards ceremony will highlight the top overall male and female runners and competitive walkers, as well as Most Dashing (best dressed) and Top VIP Elf (top fundraiser).

COVID safety guidelines include the following:

—Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status, when social distancing is not possible.

—Hand-sanitizing stations will be available throughout the event.

—Packet pickup will be spaced out on the distribution dock.

—Weather permitting, the dock doors will be open to allow for additional air circulation and social distancing.

—The race is chip-timed at both the start and finish lines, encouraging participants to spread out at the start line.

—The awards ceremony has been scaled back with the majority of awards being mailed to winners.

Dogs are no longer permitted at the event as the safety and well-being of the children and families in attendance are the top priority.

Visit www.selflesself.com for additional information or to register as a race participant. Participants will receive a long-sleeved race T-shirt and striped elf socks. Onsite registration will begin at the food bank at 6:30 a.m. on race day, and the race will start promptly at 8 a.m.