Run Run Santa dash attracts a sea of St. Nicks

Santa may not have gone dashing through the snow in Vero Beach on Christmas Eve morning, but more than 300 Florida Santas made a mad dash for the finish line as participants in an inaugural Run Run Santa 1-mile fun run from Pocahontas Park in downtown Vero Beach.

In full red-and-white Santa regalia, the sea of bearded runners all made it to the top of Santa’s list after joining in on the festive fun. Proceeds benefited the Indian River Healthy Start Coalition’s Babies & Beyond Program, which assists women and their families before, during and after pregnancy.

Run Run Santa was hosted by Brittany Streufert and Mike Acosta of Power of Pizza Charities. Having successfully organized a Run Run Santa race in Viera with her partner last year, Streufert, who grew up in Vero Beach, decided to introduce the jolly jaunt to her hometown.

“My mother has worked for Healthy Start for almost 15 years and I’ve seen how it’s made a difference in so many mothers’ lives,” explained Streufert.

Wearing the provided Santa costumes was mandatory for all runners, although one not-so-jolly participant opted to crash the race. The dash deviant’s faux pas was glaringly evident as he was “green” with envy. In the spirit of giving, the Grinch was allowed to run but was forced to start at the back of the pack.

The other runners took chances at proffering a guess at the Grinch’s final time, with the winner taking half the pot and the remainder added to the proceeds for Healthy Start.

A post-race party ensued with food, drink, giveaways and awards, including a Santa finisher medal and a hefty dose of holiday cheer. Top male finisher was Shane Streufert with a time of 5:14.58, and top female finisher Caitlin Batten with 5:46.32.

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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