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Jingle Bell Run

In this Nov. 13, 2016, file photo, more than 650 runners participate in the 29th annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, by the Arthritis Foundation, at Heartland Community College in Normal. The 30th annual event will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington.

BLOOMINGTON — A McLean County fundraising and fitness tradition will celebrate its 30th anniversary at a new venue at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The 30th annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, will be at Central Catholic High School, 1201 Airport Road, Bloomington, after several years on the Heartland Community College campus.

"For the past 30 years, we have been honored to be a tradition during the holiday season with the Jingle Bell Run," said Ashley Craig, Arthritis Foundation executive director for Central Illinois and Indiana. "The Arthritis Foundation is grateful for ... our supporters who help us raise funds for the 2.3 million people in Illinois with a form of arthritis."

In keeping with the run tradition, participants will wear jingle bells and there will be a costume contest, said Cindy Wasson, Arthritis Foundation development manager. Wasson is expecting 544 participants to raise $50,750 for Arthritis Foundation-funded research, programs and services.

"Funds raised at this event are crucial to advance arthritis research and to discover new treatments and a cure," Wasson said.

"We're also raising awareness about a disease that affects one in four adults in the United States," Wasson said.

"People think this is just a disease of older people. That's not true," said Wasson, noting that 13,000 children in Illinois have been diagnosed with arthritis.

The event will begin with on-site registration at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Central Catholic cafeteria. A free, one-eighth-mile kids' run will happen on the outdoor track at 12:15 p.m., followed by recognition of youth honoree Aubrey Francois and young adult honoree Cecily Negri.

The 5-kilometer run/walk will begin at 1 p.m. on the school track and continue in neighboring McGraw Park and the adjoining neighborhood. The run will be followed by an awards ceremony and post-event food and then a party at Gill Street Sports Bar & Restaurant, 3002 Gill St., Bloomington.

Online registration is open until noon Friday at at a cost of $40. Kids 12 and under can run an untimed, 1-mile race for $20.

Registration also is possible at packet pickup 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Fresh Thyme, 403 N. Veterans Parkway, Bloomington. Registration at packet pickup and on-site registration Sunday costs $5 more.

Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech


Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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