It’s a new record: Jingle Bell Run to benefit 8 charities

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published December 7, 2015

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — With the season of giving in full swing, the sixth annual Jingle Bell Run 5K will donate 100 percent of its proceeds to a record eight charities this year.

The holiday-themed run and walk will begin at 9 a.m. sharp Sunday, Dec. 13. The cost is $25 per person, and participants can register online at www.jinglebell5krun.com or in person on race day starting at 7 a.m.

The course will begin and end behind the Shelby community center, located at 51690 Van Dyke Ave., north of 23 Mile Road.

The route loops behind the Community Center, to Shelby Junior High School, across the football field, along a Cherry Creek Golf Course golf cart path, around Mae Stecker Park’s lake and back along a different golf cart path to the community center.

Race organizer Michael Ward established the race in 2010 with 150 participants. At its peak, he said the Jingle Bell Run attracted 600 people. This year, he said, he hopes for 450-600 runners.

“Many of the runners and walkers come dressed in holiday attire and costumes. It’s just a giant party,” Ward said. “What it does is it showcases the township.”

Most of the participants, he said, are grateful to have the community center to warm up in before and after the event.

After the race, participants can enjoy hot chocolate, coffee, bagels, fruit and other refreshments, and watch the award ceremony.

Trophies will be awarded to the top male and female, master male and female, and senior male and female. There will be medals for the top three finishers in each age group.

The eight beneficiaries of this year’s Jingle Bell Run are Cat Tail Acres, the Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Macomb Special Olympics, Wounded Warriors, the Shelby Lions Club’s food basket program, Shelby veterans, the Shelby Township Fire Department’s EMS Burn Center Project, and the National MPS Society.

This year, Ward said, sponsors so far have contributed more than $7,500 to the Jingle Bell Run, with more surely to come.

“I’m so tickled about that. It’s hard getting people, but it happens a little bit at a time,” he said. “I take zero dollars for a race director fee.”

Heather Hall, of Romeo, plans to run with her children and father, Norm Killop, 76, of Shelby Township. Ward honored Killop with a glass trophy at the 2013 Jingle Bell Run for his faithful support of local races and his overall achievements.

“We’ve done it every year,” Hall said of the Jingle Bell Run. “My parents live right there, so it’s too easy not to run.”

The family tradition, Hall said, includes running the 5K and then going back to her parents’ house for breakfast.

Every year, she said, a man in a bulky Christmas tree costume participates in the race.

“The first time I ran that race, I remember a Christmas tree beating me and thinking, ‘That’s the last time that will ever happen!’” Hall joked. “When you get passed by a Christmas tree, you get a little ticked off.”

She said she got faster and faster and has finished before the Christmas tree every year since.

“It’s a fun event. Everybody is happy,” she said. “It’s a relaxed atmosphere, and it’s nice because you have an indoor facility right there.”

For more information, call (586) 484-5523, email michaelward@cttsbi.com or visit www.jinglebell5krun.com.

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