I have taken the past few weeks off from running with a sore knee and a much needed mental “break” as the year closes out. I have not raced at all in December, but knew that I couldn’t miss out on a local race – the Keizer Jingle Dash on the night of Saturday, December 20.
This event is quick and festive 5k around the lit-up residential streets of the McNary Estates neighborhood. The course began in the Courthouse parking lot and immediately thinned out onto a McNary Golf Club cart path before heading westward into the neighborhood. Like I have mentioned on many occasions before, this route is a significant portion of my typical night runs.
But I’m typically not running this area in quite the downpour that was ripping through the Willamette Valley on race day. The forecast looked bad in the morning, and the rain was essentially a strong and steady pelting all day. My 5 year old, who was planning to run with me in the stroller, backed out as I started to get ready. She could decide to not go, but there was no way I was going to miss out. It’s Oregon in December – is there really a different way to run?
As we lined up to start, the guy in front of me turned around and said, “It’s gonna be a soggy run”. He was very right – the rolling golf cart paths were covered with some shoe soaking puddles to trudge through. It was almost a mini-Steeplechase, sans hurdle. But KC Runs had golf carts lighting up the deepest areas so I never felt any concern for my safety – just wishing I had brought a second pair of socks.
Even though there are a number of twists and turns in the residential streets, the path was very easily marked and guided by appropriately placed cones and signs, as well as some volunteers too. I obviously knew my way around this area, but even had I not, I believe it was set up solidly enough to have no fears of getting lost. That didn’t keep me from wondering if I had screwed things up once however, as it appeared they shifted the cart path a little from last year. All-in-all, it was a great event. I felt that this year’s neighborhood decorations were on-par with last year, but there is so much room for improvement. That is not a race problem by any means, but I just wish that more people got in the spirit and illuminated their abodes.
The post-race featured awards for winners and plenty of Christmas music, as well as hot chili, coffee, and other refreshments. Everyone was thankful for a warm and dry finish area. These same race directors put on the Keizer Turkey Dash on Thanksgiving Day and between the two events, got over 1000 runners on the pavement in the span of about 4 weeks. They are doing something right, and I am proud to be able to experience this race in my home city. Their next running event is the Keizer Iris Festival Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k in May 2015.
Full results from the event can be found here.