SARTELL -- St. Cloud Orthopedics held its 17th annual Jingle Bell 5k run this morning to collect for Toys for Tots.

Sunny skies and a balmy 32 degrees made for pleasant running weather for hundreds of participants who came out to run in one of the final races of the year and donate to a good cause.

"Our whole goal is to raise toys for the local [Toys for Tots] organization to be able to distribute in our community," says Kim Schaap, a surgeon at St. Cloud Orthopedics.

Runner Rob Williams drove in from the Twin Cities to race in the event.

"Today was beautiful - the weather is perfect," Williams says.

"A lot of sun, spectators clapping everywhere, a lot of people in it was great."

Schaap says she has seen the event grow in her years of volunteering.

"Interestingly enough, [winter-time runs] have become more and more popular," Schaap says.

"[This run] started out with just about 40 or 50 runners and we have [previously] had over 500 runners."

Schaap says that the Minnesota weather makes the day of the race difficult to plan for.

"Over the years, we have had 50-degree weather [and] last year it never got above zero, so it's always a little bit dicey in terms of what we're going to get," Schaap says.

"But we're hardy, and we're Minnesotans and we're going to come out and bring toys for tots."

Schaap says preparing for the 5k would not be possible without the hard work of the event's many volunteers.

"It's all [about] donating time for a good cause," Schaap says.

"We appreciate everybody who [volunteered], everybody that participated, watched and cheered on the runners, and brought toys...and we're blessed to be a part of this event."

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON