Members of the Fort Worth community will be “getting their jingle on” in support of the Twenty-First Annual Fort Worth Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis.
The event is a five-kilometer race (with a one-kilometer option) that brings together thousands of runners and walkers to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.
Martha Earngey, community development officer for the Arthritis Foundation, said the proceeds go to fund research for arthritis.
“Out of the 144 Jingle Bell Run events across the country this year, Fort Worth ranks ninth in fundraising,” Earngey said. “So far, the event has raised over $108,000.”
Earngey said the fundraiser is the largest of its kind in Tarrant County and gathers a variety of participants.
“In this event, expect anything from strollers to runners that are 80 years old,“ she said. “We even allow dogs at our event because dogs get arthritis too.”
Earngey said there will be entertainment before the event, including a costume contest, bounce houses, tattoos and the cowtown clowns.
“I heard Santa will be there also,” Earngey said. “I put in a request for him to show up.”
The Jingle Bell Run is both a fundraiser and a festive way to start the holidays. The Fort Worth Running Company is working closely with the Arthritis Foundation to help participants “get their jingle on," Laura Gresens, communications and marketing coordinator for the Fort Worth Running Company, said.
Gresens said the FWRC has been associated with the Jingle Bell Run for ten years.
“We sponsor a lot of 5K events and they are a huge part of who we are,” Gresens said. “We do a lot of public relations for them by sending out emails, promoting the event in our store, and having 5K training groups.”
Gresens said the FWRC is in charge of the course as well as providing entertainment.
“We are there to make the event more fun,” she said. “We are making sure the entertainment is ready and helping the Arthritis Foundation make sure that every event during the day is in order.”
Participants at the event would see everything from flashy, decorated costumes to people with colored shoelaces, Gresens said.
Gresens said the Jingle Bell Run is about community involvement. She added that the FWRC hopes to see university students at the event.
“We are trying to get involved with TCU students,” Gresens said. “We have offered to sponsor a running group there which a TCU student is looking into right now.”
The student is Christopher Gresens, Laura’s brother.
Christopher Gresens, a sophomore pre-major, said he is still working toward starting a running club at the university.
“As it stands now, I have the support of the Fort Worth Running Company,” he said. “When the club gets going, we will start to pick out races each month.”
Although the running club has not been officially created yet, Christopher Gresens said he would definitely be participating in the Jingle Bell Run.
“At first, I was going to just run the race for fun and hang out with my family,” he said. “Now, I think I may run it competitively.”
The Jingle Bell Run will take place Saturday at the Chesapeake Plaza with events starting at 2 p.m. The 5K will begin at 5 p.m.
For more information on registering, event schedule, court route, and event details, go to fwjinglebellrun.org.