Race #14 – Kicking off a Parade

Moonrise over the Adams County Library, Gettysburg, during the Christmas Parade

Race #14: The Jingle Bell Dash, Gettysburg, PA

The Cause: Benefitted the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School Development Fund & kicked off The Gettysburg Christmas Parade during A Gettysburg Christmas Festival

I’ve run close to 70 races to date, but none of them have been a mile–until now. Actually, the last time I ran a mile race was on the track in high school. In the 80s. LOL

So it was high time I gave it a whirl (again), and I found the perfect friend and the perfect race, time and place. One of my best friends in the whole world, Ruth, is also a runner. We’ve been friends for the past 25 years–it’s easy to remember because our oldest children are both about 25. We both have three children, similar ages, who grew up together, and our kids consider us one of their “other” moms. So… we’re pretty close!

I lived in Gettysburg for about 23 years but moved away a few years ago. Luckily, I’m still close enough that it’s easy for me to come back and visit. It always feels like coming home. So when I heard there would be a first-ever Jingle Bell Dash to kick off this year’s Gettysburg Christmas Parade–and the race benefited a great cause–Ruth was the first one I called and we saved the date.

Ready to take on the mile!

The race was on a Friday night at 5:45, on part of the parade route, with the parade to follow at 6. We checked in and received beautiful silver bells on leather straps to wear around our wrists. While we were lining up and waiting for the race to start, we took a few photos and made friends with two Gettysburg policemen patroling the parade route. The atmosphere was festive with plenty of runners in holiday costumes, Christmas music in the air, and parade floats assembling nearby.

A float announcing us as the “Jingle Bell Dash” drove just ahead of the runners to lead the way and we were off and running! The first minute or two were quiet except for our jingling bells, then it was super exciting to turn onto the parade route and hear cheers from the crowd. Then the Baltimore Street hill presented a challenge in the final stretch, but we were thrilled to cross the finish line in almost exactly 8 minutes flat, without pushing super hard.

Compared to my favorite half-marathon distance, it felt incredibly fun to finish a race in the blink of an eye. Ruth and I zipped back to the parade route and loved taking in the evening’s festivities, followed by a fun girlfriends’ dinner together. All of our favorite things, in one evening!

We jingled

We dashed

We laughed

And we finished in eight minutes flat

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