The ARE Jingle Bell Run was taken over by Marey Bailey and Joe Yavonditte in 2013 from Roxanne and Ed Gillen when they moved to Florida. Marey and Joe kept the same format but changed the routes. Joe mapped out a 4 mile race course that he marks with navigational signs to keep people from getting lost in the maze of streets where they live. In addition, he has made 1, 2, and 3 mile routes. He supplies maps at the house and goes over the course before everyone charges out the door. Runners wear jingle bells, reflective clothing, and carry flashlights or wear headlamps to light the path. While Joe runs, Marey usually takes a small walk and then gets all the treats ready for the onslaught of the hungry runners.
She is sensitive to people’s dietary needs. Marey makes Jambalaya the first week, a vegan dish; baked ziti, the second week, a vegetarian goodie; and the last week sub sandwiches with all the trimmings ready for runners to make their own. In addition to the food Marey provides, people usually bring tempting noshes of hors d’oeuvres, salads, chili, casseroles, and snack foods.
At the last meeting, after dinner there is a Christmas gift stealing game exchange. The gifts are in the $10-$15 range. There is always high drama to see which gift gets “stolen” the most. Sometimes Santa even drops in to heighten the fun.
Marey loves decorating her house making it look Christmassy with a big Yule tree and a glowing fireplace where people can warm up after a run and later gather around for dinner and talk.
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