Monday, December 7, 2015

Wallenfelsz and Heddaeus emerge from the masses at Tallahassee's Jingle Bell Run

Adam Wallenfelsz, Jillian HeddaeusDisplaying the kick of a 4:17.02 1600-meter runner, Leon High senior Adam Wallenfelsz won the Jingle Bell Run in downtown Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday evening, 5 December 2015. Jillian Heddaeus repeated as the women's champion.

Wallenfelsz ran 9:09 and Heddaeus 10:38, although times don't mean much in Tallahassee's Jingle Bell Run. During nearly three decades during which the race has been held annually, the course has changed almost every year. Although it's usually listed as three kilometers, the actual distance has been shorter some years and longer others. 2015 was one of the rare years when the course was the same as the previous year, so it was possible to compare times from 2014. Well, it was possible for athletes who had run both years, as Heddaeus had.

"I wonder what my time was last year?" said Heddaeus. "I'd like to know whether I was faster both tonight and this morning."

That was because "this morning," Heddaeus had run Gulf Winds Track Club's Ten-Mile Challenge, just as she had the morning before her 2014 win at the Jingle Bell Run. In the 2015 ten mile Heddaeus had run 71:34, improving substantially on her 2014 time of 74:50. In the Jingle Bell Run, she had gone from 10:46 to 10:38.

"That course is hard!" declared Heddaeus.

It's no easier when you've raced ten miles just nine hours earlier.

Running, walking, or stumbling along, thousands finished the Jingle Bell Run, many wearing Santa hats and blinking lights. Other than Wallenfelsz and Heddaeus, no one's time or place of finish was recorded. The athletes who Wallenfelsz outkicked for the win remain anonymous. But you can't get a Boston qualifier at the Jingle Bell Run. You can run through city streets usually choked with cars, enjoy the lighting of Tallahassee's holiday decorations, and celebrate the beginning of what passes for winter in North Florida. Participants also contribute to the Tallahassee Friends Of Our Parks Foundation, which is no humbug.

Recent winners of Tallahassee's Jingle Bell Run, 2009 - 2015
19 December 2009Matt Mizereck, 9:45Kirsten Hagen, 12:44
4 December 2010Jacob Slupecki, 10:05Kirsten Hagen, 12:32
3 December 2011Stanley Linton, 9:57Stefanie Kurgatt, 12:18
1 December 2012Stanley Linton, 10:04Katherine Resavage, 13:24
7 December 2013Connor Hollander, 8:34Lindsay Taylor, 11:14
6 December 2014Joseph Garcia, 8:27Jillian Heddaeus, 10:46
5 December 2015Adam Wallenfelsz, 9:09Jillian Heddaeus, 10:38
I've included times, but the figures aren't meaningful because the
course and distance change frequently.


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