To find one more way to engage the Fort Belvoir community through a physical fitness activity before the year is over, Anthony Leon came up with the Ugly Sweater Virtual 5K and 10K run.

“It fits perfectly,” said Leon, a fitness program specialist for Belvoir’s Directorate of Family, and Morale Welfare and Recreation. “It will be fun. This allows people to have some creative sweaters whether they purchase them or customize them.”

Registration for the virtual event ends Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. Cost is $15. Participants can choose their own running route or use the traditional 5K and 10K routes at Fort Belvoir. The first 100 participants will receive a long sleeve, ugly sweater shirt. Military, DoD civilians, retirees, family members and their guests, and installation visitors are eligible to participate.

To increase response, the event will offer two $25 gift cards for the best female and male Ugly Sweater winners. To be eligible, participants must post a picture of themselves to the MWR Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fortbelvoirMWR. Once there, click “Event” at the top of the page; then click “Ugly Sweater...”; then click “Discussion”; then click “Add a Post”; select “photo/video” in the “Add to your post” box; select “Photo” and then “Open”; post your picture and you’re done.

The event closes out a season in which Leon and others had to create ways to keep the Belvoir community involved in running or walking since in-person activities were shut down since mid-March because of the pandemic.

“It’s pretty chilly, but we thought there was still another run in there,” Leon said.

The Turkey Trot is the base’s largest and most popular run of the season. In years past, it’s drawn upwards of 600 participants. This year, Belvoir had to improvise by going virtual. Leon said.

This year’s event totaled 112 participants with the majority of them coming from the Washington D.C./Maryland/Virginia area. There were some others from Texas and New York as well. The Turkey Trot was open to Fort Belvoir as well as the general public.

“For us we have to find a way to keep the tradition up with a creative and innovative way to allow us to continue the run,” Leon said. “It was different. We are used to a larger amount of participants, but we learn how to adjust and still participate virtually … We keep trying to find ways to make the next one better.”