Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis

FTLComm - Saskatchewan - Sunday, November 25, 2001

Fund raising though usually considered a chore and sometimes worse was turned into a great celebration Saturday morning as volunteers from all walks of life and all parts of Saskatoon pitched in for an exuberant competition along the River starting just South of the Bessborough hotel. The cause was to raise money from arthritis research and with our society rapidly aging this is a cause that is affecting huge numbers of people and is also

one of those conditions that looks like suitable treatments can be found.

I was driving around downtown Saskatoon and spotted several individuals wearing similar outfits (above right) heading toward an area where the streets were blocked off.

I was soon parked and ambled past the hotel toward a huge crowd gathering on the closed street. That's when I spotted a large school bus parked, its engine idling and the driver busily knitting away. She popped the door open and explained that the bus company (Wayne)had jumped in as one of the sponsors of the event and she and a friend of hers parked a few blocks away were providing warm up locations for the participants. While she was waiting it just seemed like a good time to work on her knitting.

The atmosphere as the runners and their friends gather was almost carnival like as the jovial MC kept everyone informed explaining the rules for the various parts of the run. There was a team run for a specified distance and there was the relay that would see each team member pass the huge candy cane from team member to team member.

But, clearly the costumes made this a festive occasion There were what seemed like hundreds of reindeer, all kinds of Santas, santa's elves, then there were packages, the Harry Potter crowd, hockey players, and a lot of costumes that were just plain fun.

From the pictures you can see the big smiles. Unfortunately I did not have

the video camera so I could have shared with you the laughter.

Keeping in mind that this is Saskatoon and wearing one of the major sponsor's sweaters (Cameco) this reindeer explained to me that the blinking red nose was genetic.

I did not see any sweaters from one of the other major sponsors, SaskTel but no doubt they were participating somewhere in the large crowd. In an event like this it is hard to get an idea of just how many people are involved. Besides the participants and support people like the knitting bus driver there were a whole bunch of volunteers who had set up the route markers, ribbons and coordinated the project.

But above all everyone was having fun and though it was this late in November the temperature was a mild -3 and the snow and sleet was falling on Regina.

The announcer did a count down for the first portion of the run with the individuals running in the longer jog along the river set out first and in the picture below we see them dashing off together.

Once they were on their way the second event began to take shape as the runners in the relay took their positions to get going. Another count down and they were off each carrying a candy cane. Their start is the picture at the very top of this page and as they went by my location can be seen below in the composite image including some wheeled participants.

This merry group of gingerbread persons were waiting their turn to run in the relay. Gingerbread people run a little different than others with three legs flapping with every step.

To add to the merriment the Salvation Army band were on hand by the gazebo tooting away.

With these smiling faces and the willingness of these people to come out and participate one can see that Saskatoon certainly hasn't lost its sense of fun and community spirit.

Here friends and fellow participants are awaiting the first leg of the relay as runners hustle their candy canes to awaiting team members at the finish line.

Below on the left we see some of the first runners in the long run making their way along the river path then in the picture on the right we see those same runners as head back toward the finish line from the University Ave. Bridge.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this event

Timothy W. Shire