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Your guide to festive 5K fun runs this December

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Let's be honest with ourselves: Exercising is the worst. The only thing worse than exercise? Exercising during the holidays. However, there are a few fun, yuletide exceptions.

All month long, you can run, walk, or crawl your way through a number of festive 5K fun runs taking place all over the Twin Cities. Whether you're looking to balance all those extra holiday booze and cookie calories, or you're looking for an excuse to dress like Santa in public (as if you need an excuse, amirite?), here are our top picks for road races to get you into the holiday spirit:

December 5: Red Flannel 5K

Could there be a more Minnesotan event? Taking place on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, the inaugural Red Flannel 5K will combine everything that's great about Minnesota winters: running, flannel, and partying in subzero temperatures. All participants are encouraged to wear their finest flannel, and channel their inner Paul Bunyan as they travel through the Summit Avenue neighborhood, down along the eastern Mississippi River bank, through St. Thomas' campus, and then back up Grand. To commemorate the event, everyone will receive an ultra-stylish red flannel hat, perfect for all of your formal holiday festivities. The run kicks off at 8:30 a.m., and it's $40 to register. Click here for more info or to sign up now.

December 5: Winter Beer Dash

There is nothing more important during the holidays — or the winter, for that matter — than drinking. Beer is the great equalizer to horrible family functions, "mandatory fun" office gatherings, and the overall soul-sucking cold that grips our state for half the year. In an effort to help you turn your wintertime frown upside down, 612 Brew and Bauhaus Brew Labs have teamed up to present the ultimate "un-race." What makes it so unique? For starters, the run is only about half a mile, as participants will start at either of the two breweries and run to the other. Next, you get a complimentary beer at each location, along with a rad pint glass to commemorate your athletic achievement. The event won't be timed and there is no fancy finisher's medal at the end. Just you, the great Minnesota outdoors, and beer. Basically everything you need for a successful event. A portion of the proceeds go to charity, and the event is capped at 300 entrants. Click here to register now. 

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December 6: Ugly Sweater Dash 5K

Ugly Christmas sweater parties are like, so last year. This year, dust off your fanciest sequined/puff-painted/embroidered holiday sweater and run around in St. Louis Park. Unlike many races, the Ugly Sweater Dash caters to those of us who don't "do" mornings by starting at 5:30 p.m. In addition to being a part of the sweatiest sweater party in the Twin Cities, all runners will receive a race shirt, goodie bag, and will be entered into a drawing to win a Fitbit (perfect for New Year's resolutions... or for re-gifting). Best of all, the finish line is right across the street from Park Tavern, which has been the unofficial holiday headquarters for bowling and drinking enthusiasts for years. It's $30 to sign up, and the race starts and finishes at Louisiana Oaks Park. Click here to register now.

December 12: Santas on the Run 5K

This December, hundreds of Santas will take to the streets of Rochester for the most amazing (and possibly horrifying) sight of the holiday season. Presented by the Rochester Track Club, the Santas on the Run 5K is the only race you'll find that outfits every runner in their very own Santa suit. Seriously, this is for real. In addition to feeling like Tim Allen for the day, you'll also be supporting small business, as participants receive a $10 gift card to A Child's Kingdom for all of your holiday shopping needs. Kiddos can participate in this event too, which means you're going to basically have the most adorable photo ops ever. It's $20 to $35 run, which is a small price to pay to dress like the big guy for a day. 8 a.m. kick-off. To register click here