Jingle All the Way 15k Race Report – Kristen Hodsdon

Race: Jingle All the Way 15K

Runner: Kristen Hodsdon

Race Date: 12/11/2022

Location: Washington, DC

Results: 1.22.13 net time and 8.50 net pace. I finished 19th in my division (35-39) out of 59 runners and 255 out of 712 overall

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/RAmoqesCRvb

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. The course was great. For the most part, it was fast and flat, and took us on a tour of D.C. No matter how many times I run through this area, I never get sick of it.
  2. There was a smaller crowd of runners, so there was a lot more space to spread out on the course.
  3. Well, of course it was fun to see all the various runners dressed in their holiday best. (One person was donning a lamp à la A Christmas Story!) While I didn’t dress up for the festivities beyond my typical gear (it is beyond me how people can run in Santa suits, etc.), it was amusing to experience.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

  1. I was expecting more decor aspects from the group, Pacers Running, that put this on — lights along the course or singing Santas. Sounds silly, but it was a gimmicky race, so on-course elements would have been fun to see, too.
  2. There probably could’ve been one or two more water stations.
  3. There were no visible pacers on the course. I always appreciate them because it is a visual indicator of whether you’re running where you want to or not without constantly looking at a watch.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

One of the weird factors was also a best. I just don’t know how people can dress up in Santa suits, as lamps, as elves, and so on, and run.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I didn’t go into this in the best head space. In fact, I wanted to skip it entirely. I live with Type 1 diabetes and the day before, for some reason, was rough with my numbers (lows and highs). I can’t tell you why — sometimes you just have days like this — but I was frustrated when I went to bed and bummed out. That being said, I was in a good place when the run began, and I ran my fastest 10K in years (if not ever) and am fairly certain I PR’d on the 15K.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Don’t get too much in your own head if things go awry in the day or two ahead. And get water at all the stops — don’t skip the first one like I did, because the rest are few and far between.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

This is super-niche, but I’ll wait to turn on my “exercise” settings on my insulin pump till right before the race starts to avoid high numbers on the course. (I’ve been trying to crack the exact time, food, etc., to keep my T1D in check for years on various races, from 10Ks to marathons, and each time I learn something new.) Otherwise, following Matt Urbanski’s guidance to actually warm up for 10-15 minutes before getting into the corral, I think, was a life changer. (Admittedly, I never used to do this.)

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course goes uphill at the end. It’s not drastic by any means, but I wasn’t prepared for that and had to slow what was a fairly fast pace to tackle it and still finish strong.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, gorgeous. Who can beat running around the DC landmarks?

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not really. I’d say this was an easier course for folks new to longer-ish distance.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

It’s hard to say. Sometimes Pacers Running does a great job, and sometimes they don’t. I’d say this race was better organized than the DC Half I ran with Pacers Running in early fall.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I think fewer people signed up for this race because of the time of year, and because there was a smaller showing, the folks who were running were more hardcore. That said … there were also the people dressed as Santas.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Nope, you could’ve signed up the day beforehand. You just have to pick your packet up ahead of time (not day-of).

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Honestly, I think I saw one or two? I can’t recall, so I’m not a good judge here.

Weather and typical race conditions

It actually ended up being a little warmer than I expected for December and was subsequently overdressed with one too many core layers. It was drizzling at first and in the low-40s.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Dress up! Wear your beanie!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?


How’s the Swag?

The themed beanie was a fun alternative to a typical T-shirt, which we all have too many of.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

Out of 10, I’d give it an 8. I’d also recommend it, particularly if you’re running with a group of folks who want to dress up with you.