Jingle Bell 5K Run

Posted: December 19, 2013

The Winchester Star

Santa Claus was the official starter for the inaugural Apple Capital Jingle Bell 5K run last year in historic downtown Winchester. It will take place this Saturday. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

Winchester — Bells will be jingling early Saturday as participants in the Apple Capital Jingle Bell 5K Run take a turn around downtown Winchester.

Runners of all ages will have bells on their toes as they warm up in the 5K, now in its second year, and a new 1/2 mile Frosty’s Fun Run for Kids, said Regina O’Brien, executive director of the Youth Development Center.

The winter race will seek to spread a little holiday cheer by having runners out for early morning exercise and a chance to fund raise for the YDC, which provides educational and recreational activities for local youth, she said.

“It is right before Christmas. You know you are going to have all those goodies. This is a good way to burn off some calories before you eat them,” she said.

The day starts with the children’s race at 8 a.m. stretching the length of the Loudoun Street Mall, followed by the 5K at 8:30 a.m., starting and ending at the Old Court House Civil War Museum, 20 N. Loudoun St.

Registration is $35 for adults and $10 for the fun run in advance and $39 and $15 Friday and race day. Proceeds benefit the YDC.

For the second year of the event, organizers are trying to build on the success of the first, O’Brien said. Although extremely cold temperatures kept many of the 189 registered runners from showing up last year for the 5K, she was still pleased with a turnout of about 100.

The race will again be hosted by members of the Shenandoah University track and field and cross country teams, said Andrew B. Marrocco, who coaches them. Although school will be out for the semester, students who live within 90 minutes of the race will come back to oversee it.

“They know this is one of our biggest community service projects of the year, especially since it is to help young students follow in their footsteps and work out,” he said.

The race is a chip-timed course with cash prizes, ranging from $25 to $300, for the top five men and top five women overall, O’Brien said. Top finishers in the different age groups will receive medals.

The Frosty Fun Run participants will be split into two divisions — ages 5 to 7 and 8 to 12. The top three finishers in each division will receive medals, and all finishers will receive a finisher ribbon.

There are many parents who run, so adding the children’s race was a good opportunity to get whole families involved, Marrocco said. “Especially in today’s society with all the video games and fast food, it is good to have a shorter race for the kids to enjoy.”

The atmosphere is set to be as festive as the first year, with a DJ at the starting line to get people pumped up and the addition of a costume contest this year, he said. Not that people need the encouragement — last year’s race featured elves, a Christmas tree, and a wrapped present running through downtown.

“I know a lot of the top runners who are trying to win and earn the money aren’t going to dress up,” he said. “But overall for the general race crowd, it makes it a holiday event.”

People who don’t want to dress up may still wear bells on their shoes or wrists, he said.

This year the race will also feature James Wood High School cheerleaders at the finish line cheering people on, O’Brien said.

The race stays in downtown Winchester, which makes it a flat and fast course, Marrocco said.

Information

The second annual Apple Capital Jingle Bell 5K Run will be held Saturday with a 1/2 mile Frosty’s Fun Run for Kids at 8 a.m. and the 5K at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Old Court House Civil War Museum, 20 N. Loudoun St. Registration is $35 for adults and $10 for the fun run in advance and $39 and $15 Friday and race day.

To register for the race, go to eliteracemanagement.com/ydc-apple-capital-jingle-bell-5k.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com.