Slightly cool temperatures — just above zero — failed to deter some from participating Saturday in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk along the Missouri River.
Some 150 people registered for the benefit run for the Arthritis Foundation, but only about half of those actually walked or ran in the 5K and 10K events.
The course took them from the Council Bluffs side of the Missouri River, over the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge to the Omaha side and eventually back to Council Bluffs.
Some participants wore Santa Claus, elf or reindeer antler hats. Many wore jingle bells, which were distributed at the tent.
Jodie Sherman and Amelia Fiser, both of Bellevue, wore balaclavas, which cover the head and much of the face. They seemed unshaken by the conditions.
“Unless there's ice,” Fiser, 39, said. “I don't do ice.”
“Ice and lightning,” Sherman said.
Jagged ice floes covered the Missouri River.
“I didn't think it would be this cold when I signed up” two months ago, said Maureen Dorcey, 61, of Omaha. “I figure if I can get out on a day like today, I can get out on any day.”
Andrea Milton, special events director for this region of the Arthritis Foundation, said she hoped to raise $25,000 in fees, donations and sponsorships.
Inside the tent near the starting point, the foundation displayed X-rays showing Patti Dunaway's hands and feet, gnarled by her 26-year fight with rheumatoid arthritis.
“It's all over my body, every joint,” said Dunaway, 49. She speaks to groups and teaches classes about arthritis, and volunteers at events such as this.
“There's a reason I got this, and I think it's to help other people through it,” she said.
Outside the tent, the participants needed to endure only the temporary misery of bone-biting cold.
Michelle Snyder and Janet Thompson dressed as snowflakes, with silver tutus over their running pants and gray sweatshirts with large snowflake designs on them. Being snowflakes was Snyder's idea.
The cold has “never bothered me,” said Snyder, 47, of Glidden, Iowa.
Thompson, 44, of Glenwood, Iowa, wasn't so confident. “I suggested dressing up, taking pictures and going on the treadmill,” Thompson said. “Once you're here, it's all right, I guess.”
Dawn and Chuck Honig, who are in their 30s, headed for the starting line.
When it was suggested that the Council Bluffs couple were tough, Chuck Honig said: “We'll see how tough.”
Creighton University student Grant MacKinnon, a Wisconsinite, wore shorts.
“You're not gonna get frostbite, are you?” another runner said to him.
“Oh, no,” said MacKinnon. “I'll be fine.”
And as the 5K run began, MacKinnon bolted into the lead.