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Allen rings up another Jingle Bell 5K win


Solomons, MD - For the 20th year in a row, several hundred runners and walkers—some dressed in creative Yuletide attire—dashed through the streets of Solomons to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. The 2018 Jingle Bell Run, a five-kilometer (5K) event drew about 600 registrants for its Dec. 1 running. The race started and finished at the Solomons Holiday Inn and the hours of the event proved to be the bright window in a drizzly, foggy pre-winter weekend.

For the second year in a row, William Allen II was an easy winner. Allen, 27 of St. Leonard, finished the race is 16 minutes and 27 seconds, about eight seconds slower than his winning 2017 time. Brandon Grabenstein, 16, finished second, logging a time of 19 minutes and 30 seconds. The third-place finisher was Braydon Gutekunst, 11, whose time was 19 minutes and 47 seconds. Cheryl Birmingham, 39, was the top female finisher, with a time of 20 minutes and 39 seconds. Birmingham finished seventh overall.

Your participation will definitely make a difference,” Shannon Ward, 15, told the participants who stayed for the post-race awards ceremony. Despite suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Ward lettered in scholastic soccer this year at Patuxent High School, and finished 200th overall in the 5K, logging a time of 34 minutes and five seconds.

Throughout the Solomons run’s history, Kelly and Greg Imhof of St. Mary’s County have managed the race on behalf of the Arthritis Foundation. The event became so popular that a few years ago a larger venue for the start and finishing points was needed. At times the entries have been so numerous that a cap was implemented. Kelly Imhof told the post-race gathering that over $33,000 has been raised to date during the 2018 event. In the race’s history over $369,000 has been raised in the fight against arthritis, America’s number one cause of disability.

This year, Asbury Solomons signed on as a platinum sponsor for the 5K. “We wanted to do some kind of community involvement,” Asbury Solomons Marketing Director Debbie Jones told TheBayNet.com. After seeing the event web site Jones got the retirement community involved. “We’re a continuing care facility,” she said. “It was a perfect fit for us to be a sponsor.” Jones said nearly 30 Asbury Solomons “associates” participated in the race, including Executive Director Kelly Friedman. “She was our runner, our fearless leader,” Jones stated. Friedman finished 91st overall with a time of 27 minutes and 21 seconds.

Ward went beyond inspirational participation, forming a team—Jingle Bell Rockin’—and raising money herself.

Kelly Imhof said 28 teams participated in the race, including a group from Towson University. In addition to the 5K, a race for smaller children—the Rudolph Romp—was held, as well as a dog contest.

For complete results, visit the event web site.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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