Today I thought it would be nice to take some time to discuss the most recent race I had the opportunity to participate in, the Jingle Bell Run 5K for the Arthritis Foundation. This was the 3rd time that I’ve participated in this race and I have always enjoyed the event.
The race takes place right before the annual Parade of Lights, which officially kicks off the holiday season in Sioux Falls. We were so lucky to have absolutely gorgeous weather for the evening, which always helps draw a large cheering section. It was wonderful to see a total of 468 finishers in the event and I was particularly proud of our great city that featured an average finish time of 30:27. So many of my fellow racers were showing off great holiday spirit with Christmas lights, elf costumes, and even a full on ginger bread man! The Running Club crew kept it classy with 605 Running Shirts by Mizuno.
Road races in Sioux Falls are a constantly evolving and the Jingle Bell run is no stranger to change. If you previously ran in this race you might have noticed that it wasn’t exactly a 5K – a good thing if you want a pretend PR, but not so good for all of you truly serious runners. This year the course was corrected and I have two verified finishers that can attest to the racecourse being accurate.
We started under the Phillips to the Falls arch heading south on Phillips, the start was rather congested and it was not clearly explained pre-race; many racers stood huddled together on the sidewalk not knowing where the actual start was until just before the race. As we took off going towards the heart of Downtown I was seriously impressed with the amount of enthusiasm and support offered up by the eager parade crowds. Nothing makes going up hill on Phillips easier than live bands, loud fans, and great weather. Making a sharp U-turn at the Shriners building we were able to enjoy the fruits of our early labor by running north downhill on Phillips past the starting arch and heading into Falls Park.
This time of year there is nothing more beautiful than Falls Park lit up with Christmas lights and holiday cheer. I have to admit that this however, was not my favorite part of this race. For starters I was running very fast for me and I got a side cramp that almost made me quite the race entirely. Besides my own personal short comings Falls Park was seriously a disappointment in the section of the race. Two-way traffic on a sidewalk is awful and I hope this section is improved next year. Finally, the race exits Falls Park heading south back towards the arch for the finish.
In conclusion this race is a blast I will run it again next year health permitting and if the course continues to improve it will eventually be in my opinion a very fast 5K course and highly competitive. The cost of the race was pretty high with standard discounts available for early registration. I signed-up the day of and spent $45 for my free t-shirt – the money goes to a good cause so I’m not terribly upset considering the good vibes you get with the holiday cheer so prevalent.
Cheers Running Friends,
Greg Koch Jingle Bell 5K Time: 27:23 (Stupid Cramp) 605 Running Company