Thousands spread joy, raise money for Arthritis Foundation at 'Jingle Bell Run' in Green Lake

People in and around Seattle raced into the holiday spirit for the 38th annual Jingle Bell Run in Green Lake on Sunday.

The event not only spreads Christmas cheer, but it raises money – and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation.

"Our funds we raised today go toward science to find better cures, find treatments," said Lori McKnight, associate director of the great western region of Arthritis Foundation. "Really the ultimate goal is to end arthritis and find that cure, but along the way, we're working to find resources, better programming and more education to support those individuals that are already living with arthritis."

The event kicked off with a kids' run, something that McKnight holds close to her heart.

"A big one for me is the juvenile arthritis kiddos," said McKnight. "No kiddo should be diagnosed with something that they have to live with the rest of their life that causes pain and debilitation.

There are 65 jingle bell-running events across the country. Seattle, however, is the largest event; with nearly 2,000 runners.

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Steve Taylor, president and CEO of Arthritis Foundation in Atlanta's national office predicted the event would be successful this year.

"We'll do over a $175,000 dollars this year, but the numbers of runners that are able to come back out – really the power of connection being together, and being out here as a community is so important," said Taylor. 

People traveled far and wide to attend the event. Some even traveled from the North Pole. Here's what Santa Claus had to say.

"We’ve been doing this for quite a few years now with the Arthritis Foundation," said Santa. "And we feel it’s important obviously to give back to the kids and be here for them. I take a little time away from up north to come on down."

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If you missed this year’s event, don’t worry, you’ll have another opportunity to lace up your running shoes. CEO Taylor said, there will be more opportunities to attend in the future.

"Well I just hope that if you’re not here today, you’ll mark your calendars for next year," said Taylor. "We do the Jingle Bell Run every year in December, we do one in Bellingham a very large one there, and a large one here in Seattle, so mark your calendars."