What a great way to ring in the Christmas spirit! Saturday, December 5th, Level 32 Racing hosted the Jingle Bells Run in Eugene, Oregon. Proceeds from this 11th annual event benefit the wonderful work taking place at Parkside Community Preschool. AND – jingle bells were provided! It was great to get back to the racing scene after taking the month of November off.
Arriving at the event, which had a start and finish line at Maurie Jacobs Park in Eugene (and right by the Parkside Community Preschool), the location was easy to get to and exit from. Packet pick-up was expertly run, with participants able to collect their bib with chip timer, and a gorgeous event technical shirt if pre-ordered. I always order the event shirts, as I use them as the ‘memory’ for the race … you (nearly) always can get an event shirt for all races, but not all events have finisher medals (or age group medals). The shirt, and the bib, are my keepsakes.At 11:45 a.m., just prior to the 12-noon start time, the Kid’s Jingle Bell Jaunt took place. This was a free event for kids 10 and under. Santa kicked-off the race, and off the kids flew.
Next, it was time for the 12k participants to take to the course at 12-noon sharp. At 12:05 p.m., the 8k participants left the start gate, and at 12:10 a.m, 5k participants took to the course. I was in the 8k group. Pre-race announcements occurred for each distance, and we were informed of the special candy canes that would be out on the course for participants to collect and turn in at the finish line for a special prize.
Speaking of 8k – it is a very unique distance. Most races have a 5k, 10k … but an 8k is just fantastic to me. I am a bigger fan of longer distance running (meaning half-marathon to 50k), but the 8k is just a perfect balance of a short run, but also having enough time to get settled into the pace and enjoy the ride.
The 8k course took runners along the beautiful banks of the Alton Baker Park trail system. With two bridge crossings over the Willamette River, it allowed for a mix of flat-and-fast pavement, with slight ascents/descents with the bridge approaches and exits. It was great running past areas of Alton Baker Park I don’t typically visit; specifically the Delta Ponds area, and along the path by Marist High School.
Volunteers were placed on the course in the right areas to keep all racers on track. At two points in the course, 12k and 8k runners needed to do different things, like split off to the left or right depending on direction, and another time to reach the out-and-back turnaround point, and the volunteers were super helpful, friendly, and made sure it was an effortless process for participants. A water station was located at approximately the 4-mile mark.
The Jingle Bells Run featured a 12k, 8k, and 5k distance.After crossing the second foot bridge, it was time to make a right turn (again, volunteers present to help with the transition) to finish off my 8k. The energy coming into the finish line was greatly appreciated – I love energetic finish lines, and Santa was even there welcoming us in.
As is true with all events where Eclectic Edge Racing provides the timing, an individual print out of your race results are provided to you at the Eclectic Edge Racing truck. Medals were handed out to the top three overall male and female finishers and the top three in each age group for the 12k, 8k and 5k. I missed getting in the top three of my age group for the 8k, coming in 4th in my division. Awe shucks. Better run faster next time Jessica!
Track Town Pizza, cookies and fruit were available to all participants at the finish line. Those 21+ received a coin for a complimentary pint at Ninkasi Brewing. And New Leaf Hyperbarics was there … important to note as the race director for Level 32 Racing has used this service and found it beneficial for expedited recovery after longer endurance events. I will have to try it after my next marathon!
Kudos to Level 32 Racing for another stellar event! This was just the race I needed to get in the holiday spirit!