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Dec. 8 started off as a foggy, dreary morning, but turned into a runner’s dream: cool weather, flat course and lots of people. This year’s annual Jingle Bell Run 5K had 1,035 preregistered participants, with another 75 children signed up for the Rudolph Romp (a short dash for kids ages 1 through 10). With family members around to cheer on the participants and some fun tunes provided by Invisible Entertainment to begin the race, the runners were off at 8:35 am.

This 5K race is one of four “official” Maryland Arthritis Jingle Bell Run events held in November or December. The Solomons event raised more than $36,000 from sponsors, donations and participants. Since the late 1990s, when the event started in our area, more than $190,000 has been raised. Additional fundraising by individuals and teams has helped increase our earnings the past few years. In 2012, 13 individuals donated more than $100 themselves.

Not only has this continued to be a great fundraising event, but it has also turned into a great race. It is one of the three 5Ks in the Solomons 5K series. This year, Trent Herzog took the win in 16 minutes, 43 seconds. David Raley was right on his heels completing his race in 16 minutes and 53 seconds. Allison Parris, the overall female winner, finished in a time of 18 minutes and 28 seconds. The fastest team (final time is calculated by the team’s top three times — at least one coming from a female) was Cove Point Crushers.

There are many special groups and individuals who make Jingle Bell Run such a wonderful event. In addition to all our personal friends who come out each year to help, we also had a huge showing of support from the Spring Ridge Middle School National Junior Honor Society. We would like to extend a special thank you to Bonnie Bevan for coordinating Spring Ridge children to come on Friday or Saturday. Students from Leonardtown Middle School National Junior Honor Society and Leonardtown High School also helped with bag stuffing, registration and course marshaling. This year’s honoree, Kayla Thomas, 14, of Davidsonville, shared her story and daily struggles with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and thanked her family and friends for their support.

The event’s Platinum sponsor, the Holiday Inn Solomons Conference Center and Marina has provided amazing support the past two years and, certainly, stepped up once again. The Holiday Inn donated an entire ballroom during its busy holiday season, plus a couple additional hotel rooms for the directors and timing team. Jeff Shepherd, Terry Spence and the entire Holiday Inn and Issac’s team were outstanding. Issac’s Restaurant donated the food at a fraction of the cost and then provided excellent service during the event. Additional thanks are extended to all our sponsors: Ultimate Physical Therapy, Good Earth Natural Foods, Dr. Christie Dentistry, SAIC, Wyle, Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, Precise Systems Inc., Asbury-Solomons, Fit U Bootcamp and Personal Training, Invisible Entertainment and our statewide sponsors, Genentech and Janseen Biotech Inc. (Centocor). Also, I would like to extend a special thanks to Bert Hindman, who forgoes his running for the day and grabs the event on camera.

Our final thanks are extended to the wonderful service provided 1st Sgt. Todd Ireland and the Calvert County Sherriff’s Office as well as the Maryland State Police Prince Frederick barrack. Additionally, we want to thank the Calvert County Department of Public Works, which provided an electronic sign announcing the event and additional team members on the day of our event to make sure every went smoothly.

Register early next year. The 15th annual Solomons Jingle Bell Run is going to be a big one. Complete 2012 race results can be found on the Chesapeake Bay Running Club’s website at www.cbrcmd.org.



Kelly Imhof, Great Mills