The White Mountain Milers 35th annual Christmas Party took place last Sunday with a wonderful run, feast and Yankee Swap. Hosted by Cathy and Steve Dowling there were over 30 attendees and as usual, the dinner and desserts were amazing. The Yankee Swap did not disappoint with Spam, lava lamps and Marilyn Monroe in the mix, but who knew that mustard would be the most popular gift?

This year also saw the return of a few classic gifts and between Kevin Callahan, Bob Parrish and Frank Holmes, I’m not sure who was more surprised at these gifts.

Next up on the Milers' calendar is the Sunday Breakfast Run on Jan. 5, at 9 a.m. at the Dowling's home on Wallis Way in Kearsarge. Breakfast potluck and a walk/run are on the menu. For more information, go to whitemountainmilers.com.

It’s not too late to get those last-minute gifts for the runner on your Christmas shopping list: socks, gloves, massage, gym memberships and I don’t know, maybe a race entry, for a race that includes a trip away are tops on most runners wants and needs. Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas everyone!

I’ve added more to Thomas Zotti who traveled to Millinocket to run the half marathon. The Millinocket Marathon and Half is a free event founded to help a struggling Maine mill town. The townspeople turn out to host the race and welcome all participants.

Thomas not only ran the half in a time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, saying, “Slowest half marathon evah. Possibly the most fun,” but he and wife Katja Fox sponsored the portajohn at mile 2 of the race. Thomas says he plans to go back next year for the fun.

There were 187 finishers in the marathon, and 1,276 in the half marathon. Check out Millinocket Marathon & Half on Facebook. It’s only about a 4 ½ hour drive from here.

Please consider volunteering at Great Glen Trails at “The largest kids ski festival in New England." The Bill Koch League Festival will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1, 2020. With a four-hour commitment, volunteers receive a commemorative SKIDA hat, lunch on the day you volunteer, and a ski voucher to Great Glen Trails and the thanks of the staff, kids and parents of the Bill Koch League. Go to greatglentrails.com for more information.

I’m saddened to share the passing of Dick Eldridge of Conway. Dick and his wife Linda Eldridge are part of the original White Mountain Miler crew and Dick was Linda’s biggest fan. I knew Dick as a funny, caring person and an artist who made beautiful stained glass artwork. Years ago when a team of us ran the 80-mile Lake Winnipesaukee Relay Race, Dick surprised us all with beautiful beaded earrings to match our Miler singlet colors. Thank you and we will miss you, Dick.

“OMG! Winter Solstice! It’s almost Summer!” — unknown or everyone we know.

Upcoming Races and Weekly Runs for 2020

Time to start setting goals for the new year. Sign up early to get motivated in your training and save money.

All of these events listed are for runners and walkers.

• Every Wednesday — Breakfast Run: 6:45 a.m. walk, 7 a.m. run, with 4-mile and 3-mile loops. Meet behind the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. Always followed by breakfast.

• Dec 27: Uphill Ski — Friday Night Lights Week 1, Black Mountain, skithewhites.com.

• Jan. 5: White Mountain Milers Breakfast Run, 9 a.m., Whitemountainmilers.com.

• Jan. 18: 10th annual Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble, North Conway, mwvskitouring.com.

• May 2-3: White Lake Ultra Races, rockhopperraces.com.

• May 16: Black Mountain Spring Vertical 5K, runthewhites.com.

• May 29: Start of the Friday Night Vertical Series, Black Mountain, runthewhites.com.

• May 30: King Pine Tri and Duathlon, Madison, tritekevents.com.

• June 6: Tunnels to Towers, North Conway, tritekevents.com.

• June 6: Chocorua Mountain Race, Chocorua, rockhopperraces.com.

• June 7: Cranmore Mountain Race, Cranmore Mountain, acidoticracing.com.

• June 28: Cranmore Hill Climb, Cranmore Mountain, whitemountainmilers.com.

• July 12: Loon Mountain Race, Loon, acidoticracing.com.

• July 18: Bucks for Bernie’s Kids Relay Race, Whitaker Woods, whitemountainmilers.com.

• Aug. 1: Black Mountain Summer 5K/10K, runthewhites.com.

• Sept. 17: White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, wmmhalf.com.

Donna Cormier is a licensed massage therapist, avid runner, and walker, cyclist, hiker, paddleboarder, and skier, with an office at 50 Seavey Street in North Conway. For more running information, ideas, contributions, race reviews and results, reach Donna at dmcorm21@gmail.com. See you on the run!

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