Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
4.3
(4 Ratings)  (4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
4.3
Begin the holidays with the annual Jingle Bell Half Marathon & 5K and join for another day of scenic New England running! The event will be returning to the campus of the Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, MA. Join the fun at New England’s best holiday road race, where … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I did this race for Massachusetts due to its convenient location. It is located right across the NH border so it was a very easy way to get a new … MORE

    I did this race for Massachusetts due to its convenient location. It is located right across the NH border so it was a very easy way to get a new state since I was visiting my family in NH this weekend. My dad also did this race with me. It is produced by Loco Running/Ventures Endurance the same group that produced Smuttynose Rockfest. Race day was super easy. It is located at a community college with plenty of parking. Packet pick-up was efficient and in the gym of the college with masks required indoors. Packet included bib and a really, wacky and fun ugly christmas long-sleeve tech shirt. It is my second craziest race shirt after the Earth Day tie-dye one. Participants also got a sweatshirt. They appeared to be leftovers from the virtual race and said “virtual jingle bell” but free swag is free swag. There was a long porta-potty line but otherwise the start was easy. It is a small to medium size race with about 800 total participants with about half doing the 5K and half doing the half marathon. It was a nice size so you were generally not running alone but also there is not much congestion. Just a mass start but the beginning is wider roads in the community college. The rest of the course is on open roads through the neighborhoods of Haverhill. There is a 5K loop which is shared between both distances that goes back to the community college and then 5Kers split to go to the finish line while half marathoners do a 10 mile loop. While the road was open, it was coned off during the more crowded part shared with the 5K and the busiest streets. The quieter half marathon sections weren’t all coned off but there was tons of signage about the race and there were police offers patrolling to make sure everyone was safe so it was as safe as possible for an open course. Course was well marked and easy to follow. The signs also helped you know you weren’t lost. Race was very hilly. It was those “rolling” hills. None of the hills were terrible but they were somewhat unrelenting and the longest one was near the end but it at least had a more gradual slope. Due to my foot injury I purposely walked a lot of the hills. The course was pleasant through countryside and neighborhoods. We lucked out with the weather and it was the high 30s. However the scenery would have been prettier on a colder, snowy day but the race would have been even more difficult. The best part of the scenery was passing by some farms. I saw a number of horses and was extra excited to pass by some buffalo. There were even baby buffalo. That was a surprise for Massachusetts. Aid stations were good but there were only 4 of them. Technically you passed the first one twice but the first pass was after about 1/3 of a mile when you didn’t need water due to how the 5K loop worked. Aid stations were approximately every 2.5 miles. I’m glad I brought a water bottle as I like more aid stations than that. The first aid station was just water, the second and fourth water and gatorade and the third water and a gel. Even though I was one of the last runners given my injury, aid station volunteers were still enthusiastic and encouraging and all were still well stocked. My biggest production complaint is the same as Smuttynose is the mile markers were again off by quite a bit. The first mile marker was at about mile 1.15. The second one was correct. The rest of the mile markers were off by about 0.2 miles pretty consistently hitting the 3 mile marker at 2.8 miles, 4 at 3.8 miles, etc. I came to the 13 mile marker at 12.85 and my worried the course was a bit short but the finish line was about exactly 13.1 miles. It’s not the end of the world but if I were trying to pace myself for a goal the inaccurate mile markers would be quite annoying. The finish line had a finish arch and the announcer called your name. They were very enthusiastic even for the later runners like myself. My finish time would normally be disappointing but with my injury I was just going for under 3 hours and I did that. The medal is cute and christmas themed but a little small. There were granola bars, cookies and coffee. I think there may have been hot food but they ran out by the time I finished but other than that the race was back of the pack friendly. My mom was meeting us down in Haverhill for lunch and to pick up my dad so I could drive back to Rochester from Massachusetts so I didn’t need hot food anyways and just had some delicious sugar cookies. Overall I was satisfied with the race. It was a little hilly and wasn’t a super special course but it had a fun Christmas theme. I’m sure there are better races for MA for 50 staters that are a little more specific to MA in terms of scenery and theme but this isn’t a bad choice and it was very convenient for me and I was glad I was able to get a new state that worked great with my travel plans.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    The hills throughout this one got me but i powered through it and enjoyed a nice winter run followed by a great indoor afterparty with plenty of beer and hot … MORE

    The hills throughout this one got me but i powered through it and enjoyed a nice winter run followed by a great indoor afterparty with plenty of beer and hot soup.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Shearwoman REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I have run this half marathon every year since 2015 and I love it every time. The course is beautiful with rolling hills., and is well marked. There’s a fun, … MORE

    I have run this half marathon every year since 2015 and I love it every time. The course is beautiful with rolling hills., and is well marked. There’s a fun, holiday vibe and lots of runners dress in adorable Christmas garb. Volunteers are friendly, and aid stations are more than sufficient. The hot cocoa at around mile 10 was a nice touch. The swag is good, we got a nice long sleeved shirt and a sweet medal. Afterparty at the Atkinson County Club is great, plenty of good food and beverages. Always one of my favorites!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Shearwoman REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This was the first half marathon I ever ran, back in 2015, and I will always love it. Yes, there are rolling hills. There is also beautiful scenery, first rate … MORE

    This was the first half marathon I ever ran, back in 2015, and I will always love it. Yes, there are rolling hills. There is also beautiful scenery, first rate volunteers, and wonderful support stations. Swag is always great for this race…In past years I’ve gotten gloves and headband, arm sleeves, a gym bag and a really nice tech shirt. The medal is always unique and adorable. Very nice spread for runners after the race….soup, cocoa, bagels, bananas, etc. love this race and can’t wait to run it again this year!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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  1. Races
  2. Jingle Bell Half Marathon and 5K