Duchess Digest: On Location for the Running of the Reindeer
By Jill Brown
Six years ago organizers introduced a new event, The Running of the Reindeer, as part of the annual Fur Rendezvous Winter Carnival in Anchorage, Alaska. In this, its sixth year of happening, I decided I couldn’t live in Alaska and not give it a shot. I did my research, making sure no person or reindeer has ever been hurt or killed in the event and to date, that holds true. So with a friend from Los Angeles on her way up for Rondy, I registered us both and we decided to try it together.
Costumes are encouraged, so on race day we went downtown to pick up our runner’s bibs and scrapped together some costumes. I dug out my old Snow White Halloween costume and she put together a cute (and intelligently, warm!) bunny costume and we headed down to the starting line.
The reindeer are domesticated and brought in from a farm out in the Matanuska Valley. If you’re ever visiting Alaska in the summer, you can go see them yourself at the Reindeer Farm in Palmer, Alaska (www.reindeerfarm.com). They’re used to the company of humans and so were gentle and casual running through the throngs of people scattering down 4th Avenue in Downtown Anchorage.
Racers run in three heats (although I can assure you there is nothing warm about this race!) women, men and groups/couples. Seeing the costumes and the reindeer is the highlight of the “race” which is really a casual jog down three city blocks of ankle deep, slushy snow. The hardest part is to actually see a reindeer and not knock over another runner struggling in the deep snow. It was a blast to see all the costumes, feel the surge of adrenaline when those large reindeer antlers came whizzing and to laugh so hard your belly hurt.
Jill Brown is an Anchorage, Alaska based writer and blogger. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to sharing the ups and downs of life in Alaska. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: http://theduchessguide.com/
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