Santa to the Sea is a community-based, non-profit racing event in Ventura County. It’s stated mission is to provide all participants with a fun, healthy and safe running event while supporting and show-casing the local community. Although it is a small event, this race delivers. The participants in this race bring Christmas gifts and toys for underprivileged children in Ventura County. The funds raised provide local scholarships.
Parking at the start line is very limited. Race participants park in the large Ventura County Government Center parking lot and are bussed the 10 miles or so to the Santa Start in Nyland Acres. It’s an early morning start but the process runs smoothly.
The iconic Santa was commissioned in 1948 to be built by a store owner on Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria. He presided over the small row of beach stores until 2003 when a new shop owner decided to dismantle the statue. Santa was saved and moved to Nyland Acres off the 101 freeway in South Oxnard. Since 2008, Santa has presided over the start line of the annual Santa to the Sea Half Marathon.
Every race participant brings a gift that is piled high at Santa’s base.
The start line is festive with many photo opportunities. The annual costume contest guarantees a relaxed and fun start. There are no official corral starts but areas are designated for line-up by race pace.
And off we go!
Because Santa to the Sea gives back so much to the community, the community is out in full-support of runners.
Five neighborhoods along our route and their schools compete for an additional cash prize by creating “a festival type celebration in their “hood” to cheer and entertain the runners”. Runners have the chance to vote for the best of the best!. (But let me be honest here…I couldn’t choose just one….so I didn’t vote. They were all so deserving!)
I just love, love, love this miniature Mariachi band!
The half-way point at Oxnard’s Plaza Park is the half-marathon relay hand-off as well as a beautiful photo stop. And the chance to grab a quick, tasty treat. Brownies, pretzels. Oh, those pretzels! Something magical about them!
Running through Oxnard Shores gives the opportunity to observe first hand how this beach community celebrates the holidays! So many houses done up to the nines!
And the whimsical mile marker signs! (You know I love those mile markers as I record my running journey). By mile 12, we have run from santa to the sea! Beautiful landscapes.
And a finish-line festival at the harbor!
Then, back on the bus for our round-trip return to Ventura. Time for a well-deserved rest! But, for some reason, I feel like finishing my Christmas shopping!