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Jingle Bell Joggers Benefit CMN

Jingle Bell Joggers Benefit Children’s Miracle Network



Story by Jim West - The Albany Herald

ALBANY — Saturday was a perfect day for runners — just a hint of cold and not a drop of rain in sight — and around 1,000 of the hardy breed got off their marks at Phoebe HealthWorks for the yearly Jingle Bell Jog.

The event raised more than $45,000 last year to benefit children with health issues through the Children’s Miracle Network, Phoebe officials say. Those officials are looking for even better figures when the numbers from Saturday’s Jog come in.

The day began at 8 a.m. at the 311 Third Avenue HealthWorks facility with the big 10K run and was followed by the “Toddler Trot” for little people, a one-mile walk and, finally, the 5K run. Each participant received a long-sleeved Jingle Bell Jog shirt.

“This is a real family fun event” said Amanda Biery, the Children’s Miracle Network coordinator for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, which serves as the regional center for the organization. “The community has really embraced the day.”

According to Biery, the Jog was created around 30 years ago as a funding supplement to purchase essential equipment and supplies not included in the hospital’s general budget.

“We count on that extra funding so we can have the latest in equipment and education and better serve the children of the region,” Biery said.

Awards were presented to the top three male and female finishers in each of 16 age groups, ranging from 5-under to 76-over. Prestigious Masters Awards and overall awards were presented to top male and female finishers over the age of 40 in the 5K and 10K races.

Many of the race participants pre-registered for the event, paying $25 each, while procrastinators paid $30 to participate. The cost for children up to 5 years old to walk the Toddler Trot was $15.

“We have around 900 registered so far,” said Lauren Ray, the executive director of the Phoebe Foundation, early on race day. “But it’s common to have another 100 or so sign up just before their race.”

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is one of 170 hospitals nationwide, hospital officials say, that has provided opportunities for CMN supporters to raise more than $2 million since 1997 that has been used to purchase specialized equipment and programs to help babies and children treated at Phoebe.

At press time, Patrick Whitehead was listed as the official overall winner of the men’s 10K competition, with Julia Rittenhouse winning in the women’s division.

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