The official 2020 version of Canton’s Frosty Frolic 5K was cancelled months ago. Just another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even so, our family decided that we wanted to organize our own, unofficial, 2020 edition of the Frosty Frolic anyway. With just the five of us. So we each wore a Frosty Frolic running shirt from one of the previous years’ races. Cor added a Santa hat. I added a stocking cap that included a checklist woven into the textile: ❑ Naughty ❑ Nice ☑ No Comment. We brought along all of the safety lights I could scrounge up from our house. And then we drove to the McKinley Monument in downtown Canton.
At the monument’s massive stone staircase, the scene was far different from a typical Frosty Frolic. No photo op with Santa and Mrs. Claus. No Frosty the Snowman mascot bumping around the starting corral. No other runners in ridiculous holiday attire. We did an abbreviated warm-up in the parking lot, but it was cold enough that we were eager to get started — and since there was no official start-time, we just coordinated the start time on our smart watches and set out on the usual course through the light displays of Stadium Park.
I was a little bit worried about car traffic, but that turned out to be surprisingly minimal. Most of the light displays were similar to how they’ve been in previous years, except for the candy cane factory. It’s one of our favorites, since it creates the illusion of giant candy canes shooting over our heads as we run along the road. But it was dark this year, inexplicably shut-down. Like so much of the rest of 2020.
Still, we persevered.
The boys sang songs about goose poop. The girls worked through minor points of discomfort. The kids all crossed the “Finish Line” together, hand-in-hand. And then Marci and I did the same for our “Finish Line” experience. There were no cookies or plastic cups of hot chocolate waiting for us this time. No bananas or bottles of water. Still, it felt significant to establish some sense of normalcy in a situation that was not normal.
After the “race,” we learned that one of the benefits of a COVID Christmas version of the Frosty Frolic is that it didn’t take us long to get out of the parking lot, and it didn’t take us long to get a table at Carrabba’s for our traditional post-run feast. The kids stuffed themselves with carbohydrates: bar-mixed Cherry Cokes, bread, and pasta. Marci and I enjoyed our favorites. And then we drove back to Kent through the darkness and fog.