The Jingle Bell Run has been a fixture on the downtown Portland racing scene for years, and the fun and festive event brings out runners of all ages, many of them adorned in bright Holiday costumes and gaudy (to put it mildly) Christmas sweaters. This year’s edition on Sunday, December 7th, was gifted with great running conditions: cool but tolerable temperatures, no precipitation, and very little wind.
I was impressed with this event for three main reasons, and it’s nice to be able to focus on things that a race does right. First, at registration they gave runners the option of signing up to race (with a timing chip), just run (no chip), or walk, and a wave start taking those categories into account allowed the race to get under way with very little congestion.
Second, they had the entire out-and-back course laned off with cones, so that outgoing runners ran on one half of the street and the returning runners ran on the other side, again greatly reducing potential congestion.
Third, race directors (and perhaps City of Portland race permitters) have recently been designing new downtown courses that completely avoid the train tracks that have caused delays in countless races through the years. As I was making my way back through Old Town in the final mile, I heard a train whistle blow, and I can’t tell you how happy I was knowing we wouldn’t have to face a potential wait mid-race for a freight train to clear the course.
My only slight quibble was with the shirt color. Blue is not the first hue that comes to mind around Yuletide, but then again, it’s a pleasant shade of blue, and the design itself is nice (although if you got a shirt a few sizes too large, those jingle bells may seem to be hanging in an awkward and suggestive spot!)
As always, the Jingle Bell Run was a jolly jaunt through downtown Portland and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Results (Full results HERE)
1. Dane Sawyer, 16:29
2. Brian Bernier, 16:38
3. Eddie Strickler, 17:00
1. Christina Overbeck Crawford, 18:13
2. Andi Camp, 19:05
3. Stephanie Crawford, 19:28