Downtown Fayetteville will welcome the Green Beret Jingle Jog for the first time on Dec. 3.
The Family and pet-friendly event is organized by the Harriman-Miller Green Beret organization and the Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller Special Forces Association, Chapter 100.
The groups put on the annual event to raise money for scholarships and other charitable projects in the Special Forces community, said Gary Borrowdale, board member, HMGBO and treasurer, RJMSFA.
Borrowdale said the event is a fun way for the community to enjoy some holiday spirit on a crisp December morning. The event will include a 10K, 5K, a DJ, a costume contest, Family-friendly activities and even a visit from the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders.
The run is sanctioned by U.S.A. Track and Field, which means runners can use it as a certified course for ranking purposes.
In past years, the run has been held at Fayetteville Technical Community College, but it moved to downtown Fayetteville this year for logistical reasons, said Joe Healey, president, RJMSFA.
About 450 runners participate in the annual event, which began when the 7th Special Forces Group was stationed at Fort Bragg. Healey said his organization took over the event six years ago after 7th SFG moved to Elgin Air Force Base, Florida.
Healey said that HMGBO and RJMSFA had assistance from Julio Ramirez, a former member of 7th SFG. He said his team could not have done it without the guidance of Ramirez, who was familiar with the jingle jogs coordinated by 7th SFG.
Sadly, Ramirez passed away this past year, so this will be the first year the organizations are running the event without him, said Healey.
They hope to honor his memory with an event that is bigger than past years.
Online registration for the event will be open until Dec. 2 and same-day registration will be available starting at 7 a.m., Dec. 3.
The race begins at First Presbyterian Church and makes a loop around Person, Russell and Ray streets. Those running the 5K will complete one loop and 10K runners will complete two loops before crossing the finish line.
Borrowdale said his favorite part of the event is when the DJ starts to play holiday music before the race begins
“I (enjoy) the excitement of that first 90 minutes. It’s not just because it’s a run, everybody’s there to have a good time and the music is really just pushing the energy level up,” he said.
The 10K race begins at 9 a.m. and the 5K race begins at 9:15 a.m., Dec. 3. Both races are open to the public. Race registration is available online at www.active.com/fayetteville-nc/running/distance-running-races/green-beret-jingle-jog-2016?int and in person the day of the event.