Running In A Santa Suit Is The Best Way To Race: Asbury Park Santa Run Recap And Tips
A thousand Santas joined together to dash along the roads in Asbury Park, New Jersey for the third annual Santa Run.
Think of it has the fitness version of Santa Con—complete with after parties at not one, but two bars for all participants bar crawl needs.
Held on Saturday, December 8, the Asbury Park Santa Run is one of the best holiday-themed races to be part of. From complimentary Santa suits to Christmas music at the starting line, it’s impossible not to chuckle with a twinkle in the eye while running this race.
Asbury Park is straight up a great race location. It is flat and fast, complete with the option of running along the boardwalk or through the streets depending on the event. Because of construction, the course was on the latter. It consisted of two loops. And while this runner isn’t a fan of lap courses because of boredom, the miles went by so fast and going for a second loop wasn’t a problem.
Runners were instructed to gather outside of The Stone Pony, a historic music club known for being the home of Bruce Springsteen.
Runners start by heading northwest up Ocean Avenue, then make three lefts before turning right down Asbury Avenue. Then there is one more left turn up Ocean to pass The Stone Pony, and staying to the right. Repeat that loop, this time finishing through the chute.
It is impossible to get lost, the roads clearly marked with orange cones. The streets were closed for traffic, so runners filled the street without worry. Volunteers were posted along the course, especially at the end of loop one to instruct runners which way to go.
The most important part of this race is that it is run in a Santa suit. The race organizers give every single runner their own Santa suit that is included in the registration fee. This allows for a sea of Santa to take the streets and spread their Christmas cheer all morning and afternoon long.
The suits are made out of polyester felt. It’s important that the runner layer up and dresses appropriately for the race depending on the weather. It is December, meaning it will be cold—especially by the water. Wear fleece-lined pants and a base layer under a long sleeve running jacket. Then put the Santa suit on over.
The suit pants have a drawstring that allows the runner to adjust the fit, but this runner needed to tie hers with a hair tie which did the trick to keep the pants tight and not slipping off while running. For those whose size is a tad too small, expect the felt to rip and be left with holes and splits in the pants while running. Some runners ended up with their pants around their ankles or taking theirs off mid-run.
The jacket comes with a belt to keep it closed, and other accessories include a Santa hat and beard.
From costumes to hot chocolate, the Asbury Park Santa Run screams the holidays. The best part is it has that home-y feel since this is a race to do with family and friends. Some racers come dressed in Christmas onesies or other Christmas accessories for their Santa suits like sunglasses or headbands.
And even spectators get in on the fun. There was a volunteer dressed in a bear costume that gave high-fives, as well as two guys dressed in T-Rex costumes before the home stretch that cheered along racers.
Hot chocolate was served before and after the race behind The Stone Pony, which was set up with tents (for the day of registration, etc.) where runners could also post for pictures by the Christmas sign.
It absolutely does get packed. The best suggestion is to make a clear meet-up point because everyone is dressed the same so it’s hard to find friends. There is plenty of parking so there is no need to get their super early if the racer picks up their race packet the day before. Expect the starting line to be congested so there is no way to make it to the front of the pack for those who really care about time. It does open up, so remember this is more of a fun run than a serious competition.
The Asbury Park Santa Run has the best selection of after parties. It offered not one, but three different options for post-race celebrating. The first was a party at The Stone Pony with live music from Brian Kirk & The Jirks. Racers got in free with their wristband, and spectators enter for $10. This event was for those 21 and older.
Another option for drinks (and food) was the after party held at Wonder Bar. This was better suited for Santas looking for a meal and some beers in a more low key setting. There was no cover, but expect crowds at both venues.
The last option was to walk around the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar to check out all the vendors selling handcraft and vintage items. Along with the Christmas tree, there was holiday photos at a photo booth, as well as music, and workshops.
And participants could spread their own cheer by donating to the toy drive on site organized by Lunch Break.
Reasons To Run This Race
Debating on whether or not to brave the weather (it snowed at the Santa Run in 2017!)? The answer is to do it! This is a great way to end a race season and kick off the holiday season. It is nothing short of being a good time. It is silly and lighthearted, just the kind of 5k we need to stop stressing about our pace and letting loose and having fun doing what we love to do—run. Plus, the best way to race in December is in a Santa suit.
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