Keizer Jingle Dash 5k
Jingling all the way around McNary’s Beautiful Golf Course
Through some sort of Christmas miracle, Oregon’s month long bout of ceaseless rain decided to surprise everyone and cease for a few hours yesterday in order to give the runner’s of the Jingle Dash 5k a surprisingly dry, brisk, and pleasant run. Although this was my first year participating, the run was very well organized by McNary’s Cross Country coach Rob Wood, along with his Cross Country team, with a well-marked route on some of McNary Golf Course’s cart paths and residential roads. This year there were 226 participants for the event; not a bad showing for an event scheduled right before Christmas.
With my sister and brother-in-law in town from Washington D.C., we decided to make this year’s run a family event, with both Ashley and Mike running, along with my wife Trish, me, and even my dad. It should be noted that my dad decided to run in this event at the age of 67, despite having not run for over a month because of his upcoming hip replacement on December 29th. That’s right. He ran over 3 miles on a hip that is well past its expiration date and still finished in the top half of all athletes, placing 65th overall. He’s a crazy man.
The competitive gene that runs deep in the Handrich DNA pushed Ashley and I to set our minds on finishing 1st overall (me) and 1st for women (Ash). Leave it to us to make a fun run into a competition. Well, it became clear that this was indeed a fun-run quite early on, and Ash and I both achieved our desired results with relative ease.
After the initial ‘sprint’ start where it was me running with a bunch of little kids, the field thinned until after the first mile it was just me and the run organizer Rob Wood riding alongside me on his bike. It was actually quite enjoyable running next to him and chatting about our respective jobs. He was a teacher for 39 years before retiring, so we chatted about our different school experiences, teaching, and of course running. If I had done Cross Country at a large 6a school, he’s the kind of coach I would have wanted. He chatted with me basically the whole run until the last 300 meters or so, where he let me know that if I wanted to start my kick, now was the time. Looking behind me and seeing no one around, I didn’t exactly feel motivated to push my body into the realms of pain a big push would entail, so I just kept my even pace all the way to the finish.
As already stated, I finished 1st overall, and Ash finished 4th overall but 1st overall for the women. As far as times go, I finished with a 17:20 (about a 5:35 mile pace), and Ash was somewhere in the 20 minute range. Mike finished about 4 minutes after her, and then dad and Trish finished around the 30 minute mark. More important, we all had fun AND the weather cooperated for the entire duration of the run, despite rain before and after. This is a run I’d definitely do again in the future. Thanks McNary High School for organizing such a fun event!