Christmas cheer could be heard jingling through downtown Akron Saturday morning as nearly 1,000 elves participated in the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s 11th annual Selfless Elf 5k.

The family-friendly event encouraged both runners and walkers to dress in holiday-themed costumes and running gear. Cindy Lou Who, Santa Claus and the Grinch were just a few fun characters at this year’s race. Incorporating the iconic elf socks into one’s costume is always a priority; some people have collected all 11 unique pairs.

Holiday tunes piped into the Foodbank’s warehouse by DJ Nick Duve, who kept the crowd dancing, and carolers could be heard along the race route. Kiddos enjoyed visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus at the photobooth, and a sign-making station was available to cheer on a favorite elf.

Because of the community’s support, the race will help the Foodbank distribute the equivalent of thousands of meals to its network of 600 food pantries, hot meal sites, shelters, children and senior programs within its eight-county service area.

“As the demand for emergency food is at an all-time high, the community’s support of the Foodbank is critical to our ability to serve our neighbors in need,” said Dan Flowers, Foodbank president and CEO. “This will be our largest year in terms of people served – more people are seeking help now than during the pandemic in 2020. We anticipate 3 million visits will be made this year to our hunger-relief network; families are struggling. But with the community’s support, we will continue to serve our region.”

The overall top female runner was Macy McAdams, 24, of Massillon who has run the race for 10 years. “The race is so fun! I look forward to it every year. I'm a teacher in the Akron Canton area, and I know a lot of my students benefit directly from the Foodbank, so it means a lot to me to raise funds for this cause."

The overall top male runner was Brian Wyler, 24, of Akron.

The Most Dashing award winner for best costume was Emily Rownd of Cuyahoga Falls, dressed as Frosty the Snowman. “I love Christmas; it’s my favorite holiday, so I thought I’d go all out!”

The VIP Elf raising more than $1,400 – helping provide the equivalent of 5,600 meals – was Valerie Murray of Hudson.

For more information on runner and walker winners in each age category, visit

A special thank you to title sponsors Community Health Care, NJM Insurance Group, the National Electrical Contractors Association and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 306, and Shearer’s Snacks.