When things get quiet around here on the blog, it’s usually because a major event is on the horizon. I’ve been run-run-running since the moment December began in prep for the 2nd annual Cleveland Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst.
Arrival at the shopping complex at 5:40AM on a Sunday sounds rough, but it’s actually quiet peaceful.
I always make sure to take a moment to soak in the quiet before an event. Each and every time, I’m enthralled to see our event spaces fill up with fellow Clevelanders within hours of our arrival. But with volunteers arriving at 6AM and race participants arriving as early as 7:30AM, there was no time to dilly dally.
We had a full morning including a kids fun run and the 5K run/walk itself at 8:30AM. Participants came from all over Northeast Ohio, many teams with 30 or more people! It’s always exciting to see the teams come together with their personalized t-shirts and extra costume pieces. Reindeer ears were quite popular this year!
Speaking of costumes, two of my favorites came out to the event decked out to the nines:
Team Chicken Hickens (AKA Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland and her husband Scott) came dressed as Gonzo and Camilla from the Muppets. As though I couldn’t love these two any more… It was also great to see our official bloggers Julie from ROJ Running and Heather from Mile 26 and More on race morning!
It was great to meet Average Joe from Q104 (@average_joedj) – one of our event emcees – who held it down at the day-of race registration and packet pick up area.
I have to share that the staff and retailers at Legacy Village have been nothing but uber supportive of our events in this planning process. Especially Bar Louie: from hosting a kickoff party in October to opening their restaurant at 5:30AM on a Sunday (when their kitchen doesn’t open until 11AM), we couldn’t ask for a better race day host. The crew running the Legacy Village shopping complex is outright outstanding and professional – we’re lucky to have their support!
Time always flies when I’m running my events, and before I knew it, 8:30AM was upon us.
I will tell you that I’ve had many exhilarating moments as an event planner: leading Tom Hanks around a ballroom, that 7PM hour of the Cleveland Magazine Silver Spoon Awards Party each and every year, selling Grandmaster Flash CDs while he spins on the House of Blues stage. But being able to start a 5K might just be at the top of that list. Or I just really like using a bullhorn and radio at the same time… Just like last year, chills overcame my body as I hit the switch on the bullhorn to start that ridiculous siren to get everyone going.
You’ll see my brother Drew at the bottom left of the pack in the picture – dressed in black from head to knees. Apparently someone is getting running tights for Christmas. Drew ran the 5K in 20:52.68, coming in fourth in his age group. Nice job, bro!
My two favorite redheads came out for the event as well:
Hans and Grady ran the route just over 29 minutes – a solid showing for Grady’s first 5K!
Since I’m busy running things, I don’t actually get to run the race (although I was dressed like I was ready to!) Lucky for me, one of the race participants, Rae, shared her GoPro video from Sunday morning:
Note to self: add GoPro to Christmas list. SO COOL.
LONG STORY SHORT: Another successful event is in the books with more than $60,000 raised for the Arthritis Foundation – huzzah! I learned a lot planning my second 5K. While overall things went pretty well, we’re recognizing our areas on where we can improve and ways we can grow in the future. And each time I end up near a starting line, it makes me want to tie on my running shoes again. Gotta love the thrill and inspiration of a good running event!
Interested in supporting the cause? It’s not too late to donate to this year’s event! Visit the event website today.
Disclosure: I am an employee of the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeastern Ohio. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.