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The text pinged a little after 8 p.m. last Friday - Black Friday to some, not for our camp that spent the day hiking at the Mohonk Preserve in the Catskills - asking if we'd be game to "venture back south for our annual tradition of the Reindeer Run on 12/4?"

Since I'm always game to experience some tradition, especially when it involves a good cause (Special Olympics Delaware), community (Newark is a nice place) and pizza and beer afterwards. Truth told, I didn't find out about that last part until I fully committed.

So here I sit, in the upstairs "conference room" of the home office of ST Publishing, overlooking the green grass of the Fair Hill steeplechase course, listening to Joe answer phone calls for people ordering their 2016 Thoroughbred Racing calendars (shameless plug) and the cars and trucks rumble past on Singerly Road toward 273. Post time for the Reindeer Run is 7 p.m. I hear there's another non-timed event called the Reindeer Romp shortly after the race.

Elizabeth, coming off a Boston Qualifying effort at the Philadelphia Marathon less than a week earlier, opted out. Not so much because of any lingering fatigue from the marathon but due to work commitments, business meetings, board meetings, you know, typical end-of-year (or is it all year?) sort of stuff.

Another text came in just before 1 p.m. Thursday with two words: "That's you" and a picture of my Reindeer Run bib (#2205) and this year's t-shirt.

So here we go. In less than three hours Joe, Sam and Nolan Clancy, along with thousands of others, and a guy from Saratoga Springs will tighten the shoelaces and sprint (slog?) through the streets of Newark for 5,000 meters.

Here's hoping for a great start to a new tradition.

And to the folks at Grotto Pizza, please keep the pies hot and the beer cold. We'll be there soon.