Race photos are at this link:
BEFORE MY START: On Dec 12, I did my 32nd ‘live’ race of 2020, the Jingle Bell 5K held at Gruene (pronounced ‘green), Texas, presented by Comal Independent School District. The event supported St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, caring for children and families who have been affected by trauma, abuse and neglect. Event start at 8 a.m. I arrived with about 45 minutes to start time and got my packet from friend Jill who had kindly picked up the day before a bunch of packets for our running group of friends. After getting myself situated with my bib, etc., I then wandered around chatting with friends and taking some pre-start photos.
ON THE COURSE: A bit chilly for we South Texans with the temp in the low 50s, but a very nice day with ‘abundant sunshine’ and no wind. Took off my top layer long-sleeved shirt – my dry shirt for post-race – and did my run/walk in my singlet. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this event was limited to 400 participants. Per Athlete Guild, a running company that did the timing and results, there were 302 finishers for the 5K – 114 males and 188 females. The course started near historic Gruene Hall, went out to a really nice neighborhood that we did a loop through, and then back onto the main road heading to the finish the way we had come out. Social Distance starting with about 8 runners being allowed to start every 4 – 5 minutes or so. At my pace I lined up way in the back, so took me a while to get onto the course. Did my 8-min run/2 minute walk thing, taking photos during my walk breaks, and think I managed to do pretty well for an old dog with a pacemaker. Finished in 37:32, averaging 12:05 per mile, and Mile 3 was my fastest at 11:42, so I was happy; ran well, felt good, and finally starting to get under 12-minute miles once in a while since my pacemaker implant. I ended up 3rd in my 65 – 69 males age group. There were only 3 IN my age group, lol. I’ll take it. The 2 guys in my age group ahead of me in 28 minutes, with the 2nd guy finishing only 12 seconds behind the first guy; that must have been quite a race for them at the finish.
AFTER MY FINISH: The wind was starting to pick up a bit, so glad I had my dry shirt to put back on. Got some water into me and enjoyed a protein bar I had brought with me; then wandered around for post-race photos of happy finishers and supporters. There were not really any “goodies’ post-race for this event as no vendors were present – this event was very low-key to promote social distancing and keep everyone safe, which is understandable. However, right down the road from the race area, really close, there was an open-air outside market going on where you could purchase post-race eats, etc. All good.
Epilogue: This was a really nicely done event, put on with the safety of everyone in mind during these crazy times we live in right now. Very nice venue and a very nice course. Nice goody bag that included a really nice quality long-sleeved race shirt. Really good instructions provided to all entrants via email from the Race Director as to how this race would work during race day. I have done this event for several years and it has always been a quality 5K with usually a huge turn-out, almost always selling out, and with a pretty nice spread of post-race goodies too. Hopefully, we can soon go back to doing this event the ‘normal’ way. Meanwhile, given with what the organizers had to work with, they did a great job. Would definitely do this one again, and would recommend it to others.
MUCHO THANKS TO: the sponsors that supported this event so we participants could enjoy it; the law enforcement officers out there keeping us safe – this course was open to traffic; the Race Director and all the volunteers out there for us; Comal ISD for being the presenter of this event; all the residents who lived in the spaces we participants invaded for a while, thank you for your patience; Athlete Guild for the course setup, timing, results, etc; Comal County officials for allowing this event to take place; and anyone else I may have neglected to mention here. Thank you all!