Few gifts are more iconic than the Christmas sweater; few gifts are more despised.
Put them together and you get the inaugural Ugly Sweater 5K Run.
‘Tis also the season for bad fashion choices and Wednesday night, some of worst in holiday attire ran through the streets of Haddonfield and Haddon Township.
Joe Norton of Haddon Township is the Asics athletic brand ambassador who came up with the idea to sponsor a run locally featuring ugly holiday sweaters, but the Ugly Sweater Run appears to be something of a franchise around the country.
Norton recruited staff members at the Haddonfield Running Company, which is owned by another Haddon Township native, Dave Welsh, to help judge the sweater competition.
In addition to their very own ugly sweaters, runners were asked to bring canned goods and unwrapped toys for the needy. Some sported a variety of holiday images on their clothes; others wore Santa hats and reindeer antlers.
The winner of the ugliest sweater was Stacy Fiske, whose three-dimensional Santa-face vest was accentuated by the pastel snowman sweater worn by her dog, Angel. Fiske took home a new pair of Asics for her hideous bravery.
Other standouts included Amber and Elissa Koller and their mother Donna Moyer, who ran with holiday pride from Kings Highway to Crystal Lake Pool and back.
Judge Lora Davis, who has worked at the Haddonfield Running Company for five years, said that runners barely need an excuse to hit the pavement, but it's so much the better when they have a good one.
“People love a sense of community and our group runs are a staple in Haddonfield," Davis said. "It’s a way to get people together and do something good for their own well-being.”
Shawn Costello echoed Davis' sentiments.
“This time of year can be especially hard when some people are away from family," he said. "One man works in the area and is away from his family during the week. The runs are a great way for him to feel like he is part of the community and a good way to meet people on different levels and ages.”
Ugly sweaters were obviouly inspirational. T.J. Bruzek, the manager at the Haddonfield Running Company, said it was the largest turnout for a themed run since the store opened in 1997.
Did you take photos at the run? Upload your ugliest sweater to our story by clicking on "upload photos and videos," above.