at last year’s event show off their holiday
spirit. The 2011 Jingle Jam 5K takes place
on Saturday, Dec. 3 starting at 8:30 a.m.
at the south suburban YMCA, 401 E. Army
Post Road. Register for $30 until Dec. 2,
$35 after. For more information, visit getmeregistered.com/jinglejam.
Annual run chills competitors
As the winter months approach, more and more
runners take their workout inside to avoid the
cold. But that doesn’t have to be the case as
numerous events challenge runners to hit the
cold pavement and power through the frigid air,
which is exactly what will happen at the 7th
Annual Jingle Jam 5K.
“This one of our biggest events in helping to
raise funds for the South Suburban YMCA Partner
with Youth Programming,” said race director
Jen Downe. “The Y doesn’t turn anyone away for
financial reasons, so all the proceeds from
this event help fund programs. It’s a great
event and always a lot of fun.”
Downe has seen the race evolve into more of
an event, with more participants signing up
“When I took over five or six years ago, we
only had 90 people. Last year we had more than
350 people,” she said. “We’re hoping to match
that number again this year. There are a lot
of events that weekend, so hopefully we’ll reach
The event features two different events — a
walk and a run — for participants of all ages
and skill levels. The main event is the 5K race,
which starts at the YMCA and winds around the
south side going through parks and neighborhoods.
The second event is a one-mile Hot Chocolate
“Both events are so much fun. Runners like the
course because it takes them through areas they
might not be familiar with,” Downe said. “And
the walk is a lot of fun. People walk a half-mile
then they get a cup of hot chocolate and a candy
cane, then walk back. It’s an easier course
and adds something fun for people who don’t
want to run the 5K but still participate in
For Jingle Jam, costumes are key. Dressing up
and the wearing of holiday bells are encouraged.
Downe says the race draws all kinds of costumes.
“The costume contest is really popular, and
we have some great prizes for the best group
and individual costumes. We actually have a
panel of judges for the contest. Everyone parades
in front of them and then they decide the winners.
It adds a fun element and people really seem
to enjoy it,” she said. “We also encourage everyone
to wear bells even if they are wearing a costume
or not. We also give away a prize to the most
Along with prizes for costumes and bells, top
finishers also take home medals.
“We give a medal and gift card to the top overall
male and female finishers,” Downe said. “Then
we break it down into age groups, with the top
three finishers in each age group receiving
medals. We also have a number of raffles and
giveaways throughout the day. So everyone has
a chance to win something.”
New to the race this year is chip timing, which
allows runners to get their official times much
quicker than in the past.
“This is our first year using chip timing, and
we’re excited,” Downe said. “A lot of runners
like them, so we wanted to try it, and hopefully
it’ll work out and we can keep doing it.”
Although the temperatures may be below freezing
on race day, Downe says the race will warm you
and keep you active during the holiday season.
“It’s a fun race, and all the proceeds go towards
a great cause. We have warm-ups prior to the
race with Mrs. Claus and a great post race party,”
she said. “Plus, you burn more calories when
you’re running in the cold, so it’s a great
way to stay motivated and in shape during the