This Sunday, December 14 at 3p.m., Havertown's streets will be alive with the sounds of holiday spirit as the 17th annual Reindeer Romp kicks off.
This special 5k Fun Run/Walk was started 17 years ago by the Lake family to honor their son Brandon who died from leukemia at the age of 3. All the money raised each year goes directly to the American Cancer Society.
"Last year, we raised $18,000," Kevin Nolan, president of Nolan Painting said. Nolan Painting, a local painting company, has been the presenting sponsor of the race since 2000.
"I ran the race that first year and afterwards decided I wanted to help," Nolan explained. "I'm a big runner so it was a natural extension."
Nolan helped the race grow to about 1,000 people and then decided to start limiting it to 600, and they have been selling out ever since. He is hoping to be able to donate $18,000 to the American Cancer Society again this year.
Registration is $25 for adults and $10 for children. This money and donations made by additional sponsors will hopefully get them to their goal. Nolan Painting as presenting sponsor pays for all the logistics for the day as well as purchases t-shirts for the runners.
"We were the first in the area to give out long sleeve technical t-shirts made out of a synthetic fiber that wicks away moisture from the body," he added.
Brandon Lake's family is still very much a part of the Reindeer Romp. Every year they give out a special trophy called Brandon's Cup to the fastest child runner. The run is professionally timed with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place men and women winners and age group winners.
"The race starts and ends at the Haverford School District Administrative Offices in Havertown and the course goes through many pretty neighborhoods, many of which will be decorated with holiday lights," Nolan said.
Nolan emphasized that this is great family holiday event and that many families will do the race together and then have their family holiday party afterwards.
"We set up a big tent and offer great food and hot chocolate and coffee. Santa Claus will be there to take pictures with the kids and there will be Christmas caroling," he added. "It is very festive."