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Annual JBLM holiday run helps to make spirits bright

Northwest Guardian

Published: 01:30PM December 17th, 2015

’Twas the day of Jingle Bell Jog at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and plenty of runners were stirring in the 5K track on Eagles Pride Golf Course. Runners wore lights, bells and more on their sweaters with care, in hopes of winning a laptop computer that was awarded there.

On Saturday, more than 450 total participants ran in either the 5K Jingle Bell Jog or the children’s Reindeer Romp 1K and 2K runs during the last event of the 2015 JBLM race calendar. Regardless of age, there were several runners who showed their holiday spirit by sporting ugly sweaters.

Some featured ornaments, other had working Christmas lights and even ornaments. The winning sweater belonged to Sabria Drayton who stood out amongst all runners with a Christmas tree sweater where she used garland to wrap around a sweater and then decorated it with ornaments.

“It took two Saturdays and four hours each,” Drayton said, who said she worked on it with the help of her husband and three children. “The first Saturday, we worked on the garland and then decorated it the second Saturday.”

It was a family-friendly event where younger children were able to run either 1K or 2K while attempting to chase volunteer Victor Foskey, dressed as one of Santa Claus’ reindeer, around the course and across the finish line where they were each awarded a medal similar to the ones their parents received after the 5K.

After the run, families were invited to enjoy free food and have an opportunity to take pictures with Santa Claus inside the Eagles Pride’s Caddy Shack Bar and Grill; where runners selected via drawing won board games, holiday hams and other door prizes.

It was the first race that Ruben Fernandez had brought his family to. His wife, Adriana, and son, Brady Alessandro, 7, thoroughly enjoyed it. Fernandez hopes they will be able to continue running in 2016 and get their youngest, Adrian Brody, two and a half months, more involved as he grows.

“The atmosphere was very warm with all of the smiles,” Fernandez said.

Even though there was a timer placed at the finish line, it was a fun run where there were no special medals for the top runners. That doesn’t mean people don’t run for personal best times, including Eric Sanchez, who had finished within 18 minutes and the first to complete the 5K course.

Since his family moved to JBLM in August, he has run as a varsity runner for Lakes High School, in nearby Lakewood, competing at the 3A district meet. He’s enjoyed not only the Jingle Bell Jog, but also the Turkey Trot in November — he finished first in that run as well.

He’s enjoyed his first two JBLM run experiences considering it’s a good way to train during the winter months before the track and field season that starts next March.

“There’s not much pressure,” Sanchez said. “We’re just out here to run for fun.”