Jingle Bells, Santa Suits, and Plenty of Good Cheer in Prospect Park

Jingle Bells, Santa Suits, and Plenty of Good Cheer in Prospect Park

The festive, family-friendly, and philanthropic NYRR Jingle Bell Jog (5K) and Rising New York Road Runners at the Jingle Bell Jog kicked off the holidays on a sunny Saturday morning in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Nearly 5,000 runners, including hundreds of Rising New York Road Runners youth, enjoyed runs of 5K for the adults and up to 1 mile for those ages 2-18, then sipped hot chocolate and munched on holiday-themed bagels.

Proceeds from the event support NYRR’s youth programs, which provide running programming and events for nearly 250,000 kids nationwide. “Thank you, thank you, and thank you,” said Michael Rodgers, NYRR’s vice president of youth and community runner engagement, before the start.

This beloved event is a holiday tradition for many, who unleash their creativity by dressing as Santas, Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, reindeer, elves, and more—along with some seriously ugly sweaters. “I saw a snowman, a tree, and a Pikachu,” said one 9-year-old, who ran the Rising New York Road Runners race (his fourth this year) then cheered as his dad, Smittipon Srethapramote, ran the 5K.

All entrants received bells to wear on their sneakers. Many also sported the red-and-white striped hat that was today’s souvenir. Ryan Prout of Great Britain and the Dashing Whippets Running Team won the men’s race in 16:24, followed by Ciaran O’Donovan of Brooklyn and North Brooklyn Runners in 16:33. For the women, Kate Gustafson of Brooklyn broke the tape in 18:18, with Lindsay Ritchings of Canada and the Shore Athletic Club the runner-up in 18:38. :Levi Vazquez (5:16) and Lan Huse (5:49) won the Stage 3 Rising New York Road Runners at the Jingle Bell Jog 1-mile race.

Some runners, like Helen Rim of New Jersey, took part to get in one of their final races of 2018 to guarantee their entry to the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. “I finished today, and now I just have the Ted Corbitt next weekend and then the Midnight Run,” she said. “The festive atmosphere was unexpected and nice—I don’t think we have anything like this in New Jersey!”

Finishers also embraced the chance to support the cause of youth fitness, and everyone welcomed the opportunity to do something healthy during the busy holiday season while helping and inspiring people through running.

Looking for more winter racing? Sign up for the NYRR Midnight Run on December 31 and get the new year off to a running start, and check out our race calendar for early 2019. And this weekend you can still take part in the final NYRR virtual race of 2018, the NYRR Virtual Turkey Trot 5K—with proceeds supporting NYRR youth programs.

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