Hanging up our antlers…
Fifteen years ago, we were a young couple with a starter home in Southern Pines, a toddler taking her first steps, and an idea. We’d seen the fun and festivity of the Charleston Reindeer Run, and we wanted to bring it home to our town. The generous folks at Trident Marketing agreed to help us turn our vision into a reality, our friends and family stepped up to volunteer, and in 2007 we kicked off a small local race with about 400 runners. We raised $2500 for the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills. We were hooked.
Fast forward to today, where we’re writing to you from our temporary home in Barcelona, Spain. We’ve got two teenagers (that toddler from 2007 is looking at colleges these days!), new businesses, and big plans for adventures and accomplishments in the next chapters of our lives. Life has taken us down paths we never could have foreseen all those years ago, and while the Reindeer Fun Run has been a huge part of our journey so far, our path is going in a different direction and it’s time to say goodbye.
We are profoundly grateful for everyone who helped us turn that little race into a community institution and powerful non-profit fundraising engine. Thank you to Trident Marketing—for believing in us from the beginning and supporting us as the title sponsor every single year. Thank you to our committee of tireless volunteers, who organized behind the scenes, ran logistics on race day, and really stepped up during the pandemic to keep the race going virtually while we were an ocean away. And thank you to the runners, who showed up every year in bigger and bigger numbers—dressed in costumes, antlers, and big smiles—and made the race a joyful affair for everyone involved. (read some stories here!)
Since 2007, you’ve helped us raise almost $400,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills. We’ve had over 23,000 runners over the years and hundreds of volunteers and sponsors. The race has grown and touched the community in more ways than one; during the early days of the pandemic when schools shut down, we used our RFR platform to organize Neighbors Feeding Neighbors. Through that organization, our community stepped into the breach and provided 60,590 meals for families who had previously relied on schools for that service. The Reindeer Fun Run community is powerful and generous with both time and treasure, and we were so proud to see everyone come together in a mighty way to meet an unprecedented need. Through it all, our volunteers—especially our steadfast and loyal leadership committee—led the way and kept every endeavor running smoothly.
For fourteen years, the sight of a sea of antlers pounding down the streets of Southern Pines and Aberdeen in early December has been a moving symbol of our community’s strong sense of connection and a gleeful sign that the holiday season is upon us. Watching the little race we started in 2007 grow into a thriving and impactful community event has been one of the great blessings and honors of our lives. But today, with immense pride, wonderful memories, and no small amount of sadness, we’re hanging up our antlers. Thank you.
Though we won’t be back in time to stage a 2021 Reindeer Fun Run, we are planning to return to our home in Southern Pines sooner rather than later, so this isn’t goodbye forever! Barcelona has been a wonderful landing spot during these strange times, and we’ve been blessed with tremendous adventures our family will never forget. But Moore County holds our hearts. So stay tuned for the next chapter, and again—from the bottom of our hearts—thank you.
Kate, David (and Lilly & Cameron) Petsolt