If you’re roaming the streets of Hamilton, Ontario this Sunday, and see hundreds of Santas running your way, go ahead and pinch yourself, because this is the real deal.Piggybacking on the success and tradition of the Burlington, ON and Burlington, Vermont Santa Runs, the VRPro crew have brought the Santa Run to Hamilton.
It wasn’t long into interviewing Race Director, Kelly Arnott, when I realized that it was completely natural for Kelly to refer to her participants as “the Santas”. While I found this humourous, Kelly didn’t skip a beat!
Kelly and Mark Arnott (co-owners of VRPro) specialize in bringing family friendly endurance events to the Greater Toronto Area. Up until 5 years ago their staple Holiday event was a Jingle Bell 5K where runners were given bells to ring while they raced.
When a new employee told Kelly of her previous experience with Burlington, Vermont’s Santa Run, Kelly got excited and the wheels started turning.
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Before she knew it 1500 santa suits were shipped to her office and they had officially launched the inaugural Santa Run in Burlington, ON—Burlington, VT’s sister city!
While the risk of having a surplus of over 1000 Santa suits was lurking, the Arnott’s knew the formula worked in Vermont and were confident the people of the north would embrace the run just the same.
The formula you ask? Each runner dons a red and white Santa Suit from start to finish while embracing the Christmas spirit! Runners who do not complete the 5k race in full attire are disqualified.
It has been five years since the inaugural Santa Race in Burlington, Ontario and with participation growing exponentially each year (1500, 2300, 3000, 3800), the Arnott’s decided to expand the series to Hamilton. They are excited about the hundreds of people who have already hopped aboard their sleigh and welcome more Santas to join in the fun.
When asked about the main objective for the event, Kelly said “We simply want our Santas to have a great time while running along the beautiful waterfront”. She also mentioned their partnership with race charity partners, Good Shepherd and Hamilton Waterfront Trust.
Our Santa Hats go off to VRPro Inc for bringing this holiday tradition to the city of Hamilton. Somebody get them some milk and cookies!
About the Author: Chantelle Wilder is the Senior Editor and Co-Founder of Runners Feed. She also competes for the New Balance Silicon Valley Club in the Bay Area of California. When she isn’t running, or editing she can be found enjoying the fruitful wines of nearby Napa Valley while challenging her husband to a game of Bananagrams®.
Follow Chantelle: @chanty_marie