9th Annual Jolly Jaunt Race Series Presented by the New Balance Foundation- 5K Races and Walks in Five Massachusetts Communities to Support Special Olympics
The Jolly Jaunt is a holiday-themed series of 5K events in five Massachusetts locations over the weekend of December 7 - 8: Boston, Taunton and Springfield (Saturday, December 7th); and Danvers and Hyannis on December 8th. There are over 11,000 Special Olympics Athletes relying on financial support from these events. Thousands will participate and have lots of fun while they help raise funds. Be one of them!
Posted Saturday, 30 November, 2013
This unique five-event series, with five races running the weekend of December 7 and 8, will bring thousands of runners and walkers, plus hundreds of kids in the Kids' Dash or Junior Jaunts, to participate in these holiday-themed events. The Jolly Jaunt race series will run in Boston, Taunton, and Springfield on Saturday, December 7, and Danvers and Hyannis on Sunday, December 8, 2013. “Jolly Jaunters”, hundreds of them in costumes and most with bells on their running shoes, will take to the streets of these communities, running and walking for this very special cause.
All five events feature a professionally timed 5K race on a USATF-certified course. In some cases there are walks on alterative routes, but most include a walk on the same course. And most have a Kids' Dash or Junior Jaunt before the big race. All have a great after-race party with lots of food, music, fun, raffles and awards. Enjoyment will be part of the mix for participants, spectators and volunteers at these festivities. Some will attend and contribute simply to support the Special Olympics Athletes in any way they can.
This is a great way to kick off the holiday season with family, friends, and co-workers. Many will run and others walk; some will support participants with pledges, and others will simply donate in support of this exceptional and worthy cause.
Who better to support the Special Olympic Athletes than runners who value the health benefits and the unique camaraderie and social fabric of the sporting/running communities? Add holiday fun and it is an ideal running experience. For runners, the benefits of running and sports are clear and should be extended to all—especially these very special athletes. The 2013 season is still in process and wrapping up. There are 11,081 special athletes with over 95 organized competitions in 24 different sports being provided by Special Olympics Massachusetts. There are more than 9,000 volunteers and 1,281 coaches in these 24 different disciplines, team and individual.
These Jolly Jaunt races support programs geared to provide experiences, education, and competition for these special athletes--developing skill sets, sharing learning and athletic experiences; and enjoying camaraderie, friendship, joy, sense of accomplishment, fitness, health screenings, and much more. These events give back to those who would not have the satisfaction and dignity that comes with competition without Special Olympics Massachusetts.
The five-race series is sponsored/presented by the New Balance Foundation. Registration includes a donation, of course, but there are also fundraising pages available with the registration process. There is a wealth of information on the series and event websites for help with registration, directions event details, course info and maps, testimonials, results, pledge forms, FAQ's an more: http://www.specialolympicsma.org/events/fundraising-events/jolly-jaunt/
There will be serious competition at each of the races, and there will be holiday revelry and holiday costumes and jingle bells too. Anything goes, and spirits are always high. Excitement is building. Participants do good while feeling good. The dual contests of racing and raising funds kick off the "season of giving" for many. And it is oh so much fun no matter which race you choose. In fact, be a Super Olympian Participant and get your kicks in two events--this year it is possible. Here is the schedule with date and location of each:
Please check race website for times and more details on each location:
Saturday, December 7--Boston, MA, (the "Hub" of the series) Boston Common at Charles Street, 5K Run, 5K Walk, 1 mile Fun Walk.
Saturday, December 7--Taunton, MA, South Washington Street just off I-495. 5K Run, 5K Walk, 1 mile Fun Walk, Kids' Dash Junior Jaunt.
Saturday, December 7--Springfield, MA, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Road, 10:00 a.m. 5K Run, 5K Walk, Kids' Dash Junior Jaunt.
Sunday, December 8--Danvers, MA, Lahey Outpatient Center, 5K Run, 5K Walk, 1K Fun Walk, Kids' Dash Junior Jaunt. (Early number pickup is available on Saturday.)
Sunday, December 8--Hyannis, MA, Resort and Conference Center of Hyannis, 35 Scudder Ave., Noon. 5K Run, 2K Fun Walk, Kids' Dash Junior Jaunt.
Registration is only $35.00 ($40 on race day). However, the Jolly Jaunt races are fundraisers, and as such all participants are encouraged to raise $100 to support Special Olympics Massachusetts. Each race provides a special prize for the top fundraiser, as well as awards to the woman and man winning the race; age group awards go to the top two in these divisions: 19-and-under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+.
Special Olympics—Special Cause
It is only fitting that Special Olympics fundraise through running. It is an organization that vaulted into the public conscience for allowing and encouraging individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate in organized sports (with Track and Field still being the most popular sport offered). They now embrace the running community to help support its year round training. As the season wraps up for 2013, Special Olympics MA will have organized and conducted dozens of competitions for Special Athletes. The Jolly Jaunt Series is at the forefront of a number of special programs that support those events.
In Massachusetts for 2013, the Special Olympics MA (SOMA) Athletes will compete in 24 sports across four sports seasons. Athletes of all ages and abilities will share in the joy, socialization and sportsmanship that so many of us have enjoyed throughout our lives—especially in organized running events. The Jolly Jaunt Race series helps to directly fund the community-based and school-based teams. The series also helps to cover the significant costs associated with hosting 10 state-level tournaments where Athletes compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, the benchmark of competition within the Special Olympics world.
The Original Jaunt
Though Boston is now the "Hub" of the series, SOMA held that first 5K fundraising race and fitness walk in Taunton 24 years ago, which helped to support the growing number of Athletes and teams in Southeastern Massachusetts. And the Taunton Jolly Jaunt is still a cornerstone of the series. The Jolly Jaunt has grown to include five excellent races; and of course, the need has grown as the number of Special Olympics Athletes has increased dramatically.
All five Jaunts have the same roots and the same goals, but each race has a unique and different feel specific to its community and unique scenery and course. Each embraces the holiday season with many participants dressing for the occasion as the holidays approach. Costume contests with fun prizes for the most festive attire, along with some serious competition, have defined the unique sparkle and enjoyment of this Series.
Volunteering for SOMA
Special Olympics MA is a volunteer driven organization. With more than 9,000 volunteers and over 1,200 coaches, they include event planners and day-of event volunteers--critical to the success of the program (including volunteers for each of the Jolly Jaunt races). SOMA is always looking for additional support, and the rewards are heartwarming, especially in the spirit of the season. If you are interested in volunteering for Special Olympics MA, these events or the SOMA competitions, please visit www.SpecialOlympicsMA.org.
Feel Good by Doing Good
Get moving, plan for your Jolly Jaunt and broaden your racing experience. Get ready for the holidays and perhaps get a jump on your training and running goals for 2014. These events are terrific because they benefit others in a big way. These special athletes deserve our support, and these events are perfect to provide it. Make Jolly Jaunt one of your races, enjoy the sport and experience something special. Enjoy the race, the special feeling and the celebratory post race party. Make this a goal and a destination. Pick the one (or two) that is right for you, gather teams, family and friends, select your costume, come with bells on and enjoy the Jolly Jaunt Series. www.JollyJaunt.org