This year’s Jingle Bell Run to benefit the Arthritis Foundation benefited from unseasonably warm temperatures. The first time I attended a Jingle Bell Run must have been about four or five years ago when Urban Son-in-Law signed up to run. I felt sorry for him and all the other runners who had to brave the painfully cold temperatures. Not so badly that I budged from my warm seat and cup of coffee inside Trio, but my heart went out to them.
This year we had runners in shorts and tutus, as well as runners with no shirts at all. The milder temperatures turned out to be a boon to the production crew on hand to film the event for a DVD used nation-wide as a promotion for the Arthritis Foundation. A fancy boom camera pivoted this way and that just over the start line. The crowd was coached to yell a couple of things in unison. I think one of them was “we believe,” or some such thing. No one seemed to question exactly what it was in which the group presumably believed.
A large crane hoisted a bucket above the crowd with local television celebrities inside along with a woman who sang the national anthem. One of the bucket crew told the crowd, in absence of a real American flag, to imagine one. Apparently out of her sight-line, a large American flag flew over the entire crowd in front of the TVA Plaza.
My favorite sight of the day was the small dog that could not bear the woman’s rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.” He howled in pain throughout the song, intensifying his mournful cry when she hit particularly high notes. His owner looked embarrassed, but the dog charmed everyone around and cameras snapped in every direction.
That particular dog had lots of company in the race crowd as it sometimes seemed there was a dog for about every other person. Small, large, freaking out and laid-back, they chugged along or walked with their owners. Some of them were decked out as much as their people. And the people were pretty decked out with every sort of festive wear.
One difference in this race and others is that most entrants aren’t running at all. Out of the hundreds present there didn’t appear to more than a few dozen who really took off when the gun sounded. After them came a few dozen joggers and a host of amblers. Mostly it draws a laid back crowd more into the festivity than into actual exertion.
So, there you have it. It seems we’ve had a pretty intense holiday season this year with a constant barrage of events. Maybe it’s just the increase in population and activity downtown. Or maybe it’s just in my head. In any case, the big day approacheth, so you better get your shopping local hat on and get busy.