It’s time for Shelby’s fourth annual Jingle Bell Run

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published December 18, 2013

 Around 600 participants await the start of last year’s Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk Dec. 16, 2012.

Around 600 participants await the start of last year’s Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk Dec. 16, 2012.

Photo courtesy of Mike Ward


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Coordinators of the Shelby Township Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk launched the event to promote holiday fitness, highlight the municipal grounds and raise money for charity.

The event is set to take place at 9 a.m. sharp Dec. 22 behind the Shelby Community Center, which includes public restrooms  and space to warm up. Registration is $20 before race day at or $25 on race day at 7:30 a.m.

The race, which kicked off in 2010 with 150 participants and raised $2,000, has grown. Last year, 600 people participated and raised $7,500 for local charitable causes. Organizer Mike Ward said he would not be surprised if attendance exceeded 1,000 people this year.

New to the race will be the opportunity for walkers to be timed.

The route will begin behind the Shelby Community Center, continue to Shelby Junior High School, cross the football field, travel along Cherry Creek Golf Club’s golf cart path, hook a partial loop around Mae Stecker Park near the lake, return onto a different golf cart path and finish exactly where it began.

Ward said, last year, he saw several deer along the route, as well as a red fox while he was setting up in the early morning.

“It’s a big, giant party atmosphere with a DJ, live entertainment, free Biggby coffee and a Jazzercise workout by Yvonne Lewis,” Ward said. “(We began doing the jazzercise workout) before the race started last year, and it was a huge hit.”

After the race, he said all the runners would be well-fed with bagels, fruit, Gatorade and water. An award ceremony is set to take place around 10 a.m., featuring trophies for the top male and female overall, top male and female age 40 and older, as well as prizes for the top three runners in nine major age groups.

For the last three years, Danielle Miller, 22, of Fraser, took the top overall female trophy. She is a senior at Northwood University in Midland with a running scholarship.

Miller said she loves participating in the run because it gets her in the Christmas spirit and benefits worthy causes, including the Macomb County Special Olympics, Penrickton Center for Blind Children, the Lions Club and the township’s veterans memorial.

“Mr. Ward is pretty near and dear to my family. He’s not only a part of the Michigan running community, but also an advocate for special needs children,” Miller said, adding that her sister requires special education. “He invited me to the run.”

She said the atmosphere is all about community and welcoming, and she added that it draws teen volunteers from local high schools.

“I absolutely love going home for the holidays and racing, and working at Hanson’s Running Shop, and seeing my family,” Miller said.

Organizer David Danyko said he hopes to keep the ball rolling for years and is looking forward to the 45th annual Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk.