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Sat, 12/18/2021 – 1:35pm
The largest 5K run in San Marcos is the Sights and Sounds Jingle Bell 5K held last Saturday. A rough estimate of runners was between 800-900 runners, joggers, walkers, dogs, strollers, several Santa Clauses, a few very nice Christmas suits on the more well-dressed runners and a few slow-walkers enjoying the music and decorations on the homes along the way. This was the first year that I did not take an active role in the race.
Sights and Sounds started in 1988 and the next year, 1989, Darrell Rhodes talked San Marcos Telephone Company to have a 5K run with the event. We measured the course and organized the race for the Sights and Sounds Celebration. It was held at the courthouse and ran down San Antonio Street and then returned by running down Belvin and Hutchison Streets to finish at the corner of the courthouse on LBJ. It was the year for the first 1K run for kids also. They ran down San Antonio Street to the island triangle and back to the courthouse. If I remember, we had a good turnout of runners for that first race.
Since I was going to a spectator for this year’s race standing at the corner of my block, I thought it would be nice to wear one of the old original shirts from the race. I dug down in a storage box of old race shirts and came up with a nice looking navy blue shirt from Dec. 5-7, 1996. On a personal preference, I thought the shirt design was much better than recent designs. I had to choose between a green shirt, a blue shirt and a white shirt with Christmas trees on the front. The back of the shirt had the sponsors as Norwest Bank, Century Telephone, Miscellaneous Steel Industries, Central Texas Medical Center, Hill Country Sports Medicine, Smartworks Inc. and the San Marcos Kiwanis Club. I am not sure what the entry fee for runners to enter the race but I would guess it was between $8-10 back then. And this included a long-sleeve cotton shirt. We may have had three police officers for traffic control — one at the end of San Antonio Street crossing Hunter Road, one on the Belvin-Hutchison cross over and then at the intersection of LBJ and Hopkins as they sprinted to the finish line. We gave the officers that monitored the race a race shirt for their service. It was a much simpler and laid back time back in the early days of races in San Marcos.
What impressed me watching the runners as they passed by my location was the number of young children that were running. Some of them were right up near the front group of entrants. Several of them would sprint around a few runners then walk for a distance and then sprint around another group of runners. There were a few kids that did not want to run and had to be encouraged by Mom or Dad to keep moving. But it was a welcome sight to see that many youngsters getting some good exercise on a Saturday morning.
Of course, the runners that wore costumes were nice to watch. There were several versions of Santa Claus costumes to be had and then the number of deer antlers on the head were there. It was nice to see race shirts from previous years on some of the runners. I wonder if there are any runners that have entered most of the Sights and Sounds race. I didn’t see any other shirts from 1996 but I am sure they are out there. At my location about a little over a mile into to the race there was about a 25-minute difference from the serious runners in front to the last of the crowd. I could see the lead runners heading down Belvin Street and still see a long column of runners and walkers still coming up San Antonio Street.
Any way you look at the race it was good to see that number of people getting some exercise. A 5K distance is a 5K distance whether you run fast or walk a leisurely pace. It is a good way to get into the holiday season. Walking around San Marcos this week it was nice to see several individuals wearing the tan race shirt while they went about their business. With over 800 shirts handed out, the chance of seeing race entrants around town for several weeks is very good.
San Marcos Record
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666