Jingle Bell Jam gets new life

Benefits food shelf, National Night Out

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Fifty-four runners and walkers start the Jingle Bell Jam Fun Run 5k hosted by the New Ulm Police Department Saturday morning behind New Ulm Middle School. All proceeds benefit the New Ulm Area Food Shelf and National Night Out.

NEW ULM — Fifty-four runners and walkers participated in a new version of the Jingle Bell Jam Fun Run 5k Saturday morning.

Originally created by the Heart of New Ulm organization a number of years ago, the 3.1 mile fun run/walk that formerly began and ended at the New Ulm Medical Center was rekindled this year by a committee led by New Ulm Police Chief Dave Borchert. The event began and ended behind New Ulm Middle School, following a fairly flat route to near the former Hauenstein Brewery and back.

Held snow or shine, all event proceeds benefit the New Ulm Area Emergency Food Shelf and National Night Out event held July 30 in German Park to help residents fight crime. That event was sponsored by the United Way of New Ulm, New Ulm Park & Recreation and New Ulm Police and Fire Departments.

The 5k race was a toe-to-toe battle between New Ulm Cathedral High School student and distance runner Nate Fliszar and Chris Gordon of New Ulm. Fliszar finished in 20:35, Gordon 20:36.

“The Jingle Bell Jam was a tough but fun race,” Gordon posted on Facebook. “There are worse things than finishing second by a second to a kid about a third your age.”

Gordon won the best costume prize, dressed as Santa Claus.

Medals were awarded to the top three finishers in male and female age divisions. Participants received t-shirts in goodie bags that included free food and free food coupons.

Runners and walkers that donated food shelf items received event fee discounts.

Borchert said the fun run committee will consider adding an online registration option to participants for next year’s event that will likely happen at the same time of year.