Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Little Competition is Good for the Soul...and Arthritis

A few years ago we had the rare event of a race in Madison.  Most races in my area take place in Huntsville, but this race was actually taking place a few miles from my home, and I decided that merited my support as a resident and runner of Madison.  The race was tiny at first and it was held on a Friday night in the parking lot of a church.  We ran down a walking path along one of the main roads and I won second overall female.  I remember it was FREEZING that night, and afterward I had some friends and family over for hot chocolate and snacks.  The next year I talked my dad into doing the race (which, if you know my dad you'd know this was BIG) and since I had just run the Dizzy Fifties 40 Mile the day before, I walked it with him.  He won first place in his age group in his first race ever. 

The race is the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis held by the Arthritis Foundation and for all kinds of reasons, it is a special one to me.  It is one of those races where participants can form a team and raise funds for the cause, so I started one.  I think I called it the Reneau Runners or something like that the first year, but the next year I changed the name to the Red-nosed Runners and that is what we have been ever since.

This year marks the fourth year of this race, and it has grown exponentially.  Even when I run my hardest, I am nowhere near winning an overall award and very possibly not even in my age group, but such a large race means great support for the Arthritis Foundation so it is a good problem to have.  And while I may still run as hard as I can in an attempt to win a Jingle Bell 5k Christmas tree ornament, I've channeled my competitive edge to my team as well.

I have no idea why exactly, but I love seeing the Red-nosed Runners in the top 5 list of teams on the homepage of the race.  If you follow this link, you will see we are currently 4th place in the team rankings for most money raised.  Of course, we are still a month out from the race day (November 20), so there are probably a lot of folks yet to sign up, but I'm hopeful.  I've got a whole list of friends, family and co-workers to pester into joining my team, and I have succeeded with 13 so far (although not yet with Dad, who I have told must return to defend his title).  We have raised a total of $425.00 and this year, my goal is $3000.00.  A bit lofty, perhaps but why not aim high?  With so many friends and family who have dealt with arthritis, I think this is a great reason to get a little competition going.

And so it's on.  I am gratefully accepting both donations and runners to my team, and if you are a local to this area, I think you should consider joining the fun!  The race takes place on Sunday, November 20.  At 1:30 there is a family 1 mile walk followed by the 5k at 2:00.  At 3:00 there is a Santa Chase for kids 5 and under followed by the Reindeer Dash for kids 6-12.  As you can see these is something for everyone, so what are you waiting for?

Let's do this!


  1. I love this race! I forwarded your link to a friend I have been running with (I didn't think you would mind)! I hope she joins, too! I remember that first race...I had worked all day at the Madison office and met you there. I remember crossing the finish line and being amazed at my time. I thought, "that can't be right, because I am not that fast!" Then I found you and we figured out that the course was a little short :) Fun times!!

  2. Ha ha ha - I forgot about that, but I remember thinking the same thing when I finished that first race. :) Such fun! And yes, send the link on to whoever you want! Bring all friends and family!