If you didn’t sign up for this weekend’s biggest event, the 35th annual Kiawah Island Marathon and Half Marathon on Saturday (registration is closed), there are still a few options to consider as we head into the holiday lull.

Cyclocross returns

Perhaps the most engaging bicycling event to watch, and perhaps participate in, is cyclocross, a form of racing that features obstacles, steep hills and trails.

Think of it as the mud run for cycling. (Riders often have to dismount and carry the bike to get over obstacles.)

And while cyclocross is more popular in Northern Europe than the U.S., it comes to town this weekend.

Mount Pleasant Velo and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission present the two-day Charleston Cyclocross Doubleheader at Old Towne Creek Plantation, located next to Charles Towne Landing, on Saturday and Sunday.

It’s the third year cyclocross events have been held in the area in December. The previous two were at Wannamaker County Park.

Chris Moore, president of Mount Pleasant Velo, said he hopes to draw 60-100 cyclists to the event, which features the South Carolina State Cyclocross Championships on Sunday.

But, Moore said, people wanting to try cyclocross for the first time are welcome to participate in a Category 4 race. And Moore said a mountain bike will suffice for beginners.

Races for beginners and intermediates last 30 or 40 minutes, and it’ll be a good workout, Moore said. The fee to race is $30 for adults and $15 for juniors ages 10-14 and 15-18.

For a complete schedule, go to www.usacycling.org/events or the Facebook page for Mount Pleasant Velo.

Whether you race or not, the event could be a good diversion from the shopping and holiday madness. Besides being spectator friendly, the event will feature food from The Proud Purveyors of Pork food truck and a specially brewed beer, Ghost Rider, by Palmetto Brewing Co.

Pajamas in public

Among the most fun 5Ks in Charleston in the past five years has been Knology’s annual Pajama Run, where most wear pajamas or pajama-like costumes.

The fifth annual event ($40) will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Riley Park.

This is the first time the event has been held in December.

Todd Trevillian, event director, said the switch from November to December was due more to schedule conflicts with Citadel football games and other events than experimenting with a different time.

Since its start in Charleston in 2008, the event has raised $50,000 for research on “below the waist” cancers at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Knology has established Pajama Runs in Charlotte, Augusta, Ga., Denver and Long Beach, Calif.

Trevillian said demand for more PJ runs in other cities likely will require Knology to hire help to expand the event across the nation.


Jingle Bells

The second of two holiday-themed 5Ks, the second annual Jingle Bell Run and Walk, takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday at Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital. The event ($35) is a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation.