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Christmas sweaters: Thousands dash through Prospect Park in Jingle Jog

Fun run: This little lady crossed the finish line at Saturday’s Jingle Bell Jog with a big smile on her face!
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They jingled all the way — to the finish line!

Thousands of gaily attired joggers flocked to Prospect Park for a holiday fun run on Saturday, where racers ran with bells strapped to their sneakers as spectators cheered them on wearing wacky Christmas costumes, according to a Flatbusher who ran the day away.

“One of my favorite spectators was someone in a Santa suit with a giant cutout of a cat head on a big, wooden stick,” said Alexandra Biss, who hoofed it through Brooklyn’s Backyard. “It made me happy to be a Brooklyn resident.”

More than 5,000 runners suited up for the 31st edition of the appropriately dubbed Jingle Bell Jog 5k, many competing in getups that included Santa and Mrs. Claus, elves, two-legged Christmas trees and reindeer, and even some Dr. Seuss characters such as Thing One and Thing Two, amidst the more practical, spandex-clad runners.

Brooklyn’s own Kate Gustafson took home the women’s gold medal by completing the 3.1-mile course with a time of 18:18, while British runner Ryan Prout crossed the finish line at 16:24 to take the top prize in the men’s category.

The holiday-themed race is a major fund-raising event for athletes with the New York Road Runners, which annually organizes the jog along with other events, such as the New York City Marathon, across the five boroughs.

This year, the Road Runners collected a whopping $300,000 in Jingle Bell Jog donations, money that will go towards financing the group’s youth program, Rising New York Road Runners, which offers free events and classes to some 125,000 city kids a year, according to an organization honcho.

“There’s a real need to ensure kids are moving,” said Rachel Pratt. “We never charge parents or teachers for our youth programs, and the money we raised on Saturday helps to keep them free.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 7:16 pm, December 5, 2018
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