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Race Recap: 2013 Keizer Jingle Dash

Grande Ronde runner Susan Anguiano graced us with her "presents" at the Keizer Jingle Dash. - Photo by Matt Rasmussen

Grande Ronde runner Susan Anguiano graced us with her "presents" at the Keizer Jingle Dash.
- Photo by Matt Rasmussen

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...if Christmas consists of a snow-free, 50 degree December 21 race. But for what was controllable, the directors of the 2014 Keizer Jingle Dash 5k put on a holiday extravaganza. The race, which benefitted McNary High School running programs, featured a myriad of holiday surprises. Runners donned their most festive Christmas garb, from ugly sweaters to light up clothes to holiday costumes. The raffle prizes were given out to those with the most Christmas-y scarves, socks, shoes, strollers, and costumes. In lieu of medals or ribbons, finishers received Santa hats. Even the Keizer Fire District Santa, who hands out candy canes on every street in Keizer the Saturday before Christmas, ended his day at the start line ho-ho-hoing runners on. Even with all that, the big draw of the event was

the race course through the McNary Estates Neighborhood. Now typically a race occurring entirely through a solely residential neighborhood wouldn’t necessarily appeal to me. However, the 5pm race allowed us runners to combine two wonderful things: running and Christmas lights!

The Elf Brigade was out and decked out in their best holiday outfits! - Photo by Matt Rasmussen

The Elf Brigade was out and decked out in their best holiday outfits!
– Photo by Matt Rasmussen

Almost 300 runners lined up in front of the Keizer Courthouse Fitness Center to take to the neighborhood. Christmas music was blaring courtesy of Silverton Health and pushed us merrily out of the starting area. The course was mildly different from last year’s inaugural event, with the first half mile taking place on the cart paths of the darkening McNary Golf Club. Following this section, we all took to the streets in a large, approximately 2 mile loop.

I had driven this route with my family about 10 days prior to the race and expressed my sadness that the lights seemed to be a little lacking. However, during the run, this was not the case. It appeared that the neighborhood had found their holiday spirit and illuminated their lawns and houses moreso than I remembered.

The next few miles had pretty cathartic qualities for me. December has been cruising by and I feel like I haven’t been able to enjoy the holiday season as much as I wanted to. The weather was cold (but not snowy), work was busy, and the kids have been on-and-off sick. I just have not been able to really feel like Christmas is just around the corner.

But that all changed as I passed by house after house of Christmas lights. It was the first real time in December that I had been able to relax, get my mind off all the extra burden that had been piling up, and just take in the holiday season. While not every house was decorated, there was always a lit-up house or two in my view that I was able to use as motivation.

The Keizer Fire District Santa was on site to welcome runners to the start line. - Photo by Matt Rasmussen

The Keizer Fire District Santa was on site to welcome runners to the start line.
– Photo by Matt Rasmussen

Before I wrap up, I want to get a special shout-out to the high school-aged female runner in front of me. I overheard her talking with a friend at the start of the race that she was going to push herself today. That quicker pace caught up to her right after mile 2, when I noticed her stopped with her hands on her knees on the side of the road. After a few seconds, she was off and running again- still ahead of me. When I reached the spot where she was bending over, I noticed she left a fun little “gift” from the heart (stomach) on the pavement below. It isn’t too often that someone can “rally” like that and pick up pace to the finish. Nice work!

The final stretch to the finish was back on the golf course cart paths. By this time, the night had enveloped the sky and it was more difficult to see. There were bright generator lights and I found it awesome that there were actually a few volunteers who had heavy duty flashlights and would guide runners for 30-40 yards of darkness as each of us passed.

The post-race festivities consisted of the raffle I referenced earlier and runners were fed hot chili and liquid refreshments. While there were some initial techincal problems with the immediate results through ChronoTrack, awards were still given out. Given that we were nesteled warmly indoors, the delay was no big deal at all.

Overall, this is yet another great Keizer race out there. It has already grown larger, but not so much that it feels less overrun. I am proud of my hometown for races like this. Come visit us sometime!

View full results here.

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About Matt Rasmussen (1409 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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