Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mizereck masters the mob at Jingle Bell Run

At 6:15pm on Saturday, 19 December 2009 the city of Tallahassee turned on its holiday lights and then turned its downtown streets over to the annual Jingle Bell 3K run. About nine minutes and 45 seconds later, Leon High's Matt Mizereck--a three-time state cross-country champion--was the first runner to return and cross the finish line. The first woman in was Florida State University cross-country alumna Kirsten Hagen, covering the course in around 12:44. A native of Blacksburg, Virginia, Hagen last ran cross country for the Seminoles during the 2007 season. Mizereck and Hagen were followed by a horde of nearly three thousand runners, walkers, parents pushing strollers, people leading dogs, and reckless fools on roller blades--most of whom were wearing Santa hats equipped with blinking lights.

The Jingle Bell Run--part of Tallahassee's annual Winter Festival--has been around for decades, but no one has ever attempted to score it as a race. The course has changed frequently over the years, and, altho' the run has always been billed as three kilometers, it has seldom actually been that distance. This year's course was closer to two miles. In spite of these shortcomings, the community continues to enjoy the event.

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