Each December, the New York Road Runners hold their ringliest, jingliest jog to kick off the holidays and slowly bring the running year to a close. As the last short race eligible for the 9+1 to get into the NYC Marathon the following year, this popular race gives each of the participants bells to wear on their shoes as they run the four miles around Prospect Park in the winter chill of the Jingle Bell Jog.
Over 5,000 of us lined up at 9:30am to run from the middle of the park as the corrals let us loose to run the four mile race. Heading out, we ran a short distance before turning left and heading north to loop around the park. Within a half mile, we were heading up the steep hill that is the bane of those who run Prospect Park. I hadn’t trained properly for hills this year and going up this one killed my time. I pushed through to the top, but i could feel in my legs that it would not be a good race for me. After the one mile marker, I had to interval between running and walking as I headed down the west side of the park.
I was not feeling this race around the two mile marker when my friend Christine ran up behind me and said hi. For the rest of the race, I ran with her, giving me the motivation to push through the pain and keep going. We finished the run south and curved left to hit the three mile marker along the south end of the park and curve back left to run north again. One final left turn took us back along the road we started on and to the finish, where we were able to complete the four mile Jingle Bell Jog and guarantee our entries into the 2016 NYC Marathon.
The Jingle Bell Jog was a tough race for me this year, and I couldn’t have done it without Christine to get me going. I was able to finish it in 38:59 and completed my 9+1, so now I can rest until it’s time to start preparing for my 2016 races.