About 600 Santas and many of his elves are expected to arrive in Simcoe Park a little early for Christmas.
Caroline Polgrabia will be one of those Santas, as will her son Jayden, both taking part in the 5K Santa and Elf Run, organized by VPro, who brought the Santa Run to NOTL last Christmas. Her daughter Kaitlyn will be an elf in the 1K.
Polgrabia ran last year with Jayden, although at 11 years old, she says, he quickly left her in his dust — when her husband was taking photos of Jayden at the finish, “I was nowhere to be seen. He really blew me away,” she says, admitting she didn’t do a lot to prepare for the event.
Although there are competitive runners who take part, this run is not so much about competition as having fun — you don’t have to be a runner to participate, she says. Last year she saw people walking, pulling kids in a wagon, or pushing a stroller.
“It’s hard running on snow and ice. Not even the serious runners are pushing themselves.”
As much fun as she had last year, Polgrabia has even more motivation to participate in this year’s event. The NOTL Youth Campus, which she has finally seen become a reality after almost a decade of planning, will be the recipient of funds raised from the event.
And Tom Elltoft, a long-time friend and huge supporter of the youth hub, along with Chris Bowron, co-owners of NOTL Realty, have stepped up to sponsor the event.
“It is important at this time of year to find ways to give back to our community, and NOTL youth are certainly at the top of our list,” says Elltoft. “We hope everyone will get involved, support the kids and donate generously.”
One hundred per cent of the dollars raised by the Elves and Santas go directly to building programs at the NOTL Youth Campus in 2023, says Elltoft.
Polgrabia says it’s great to have a third party fundraiser — not only for the revenue it will bring to Youth Campus, but also because when others want to help out, “it feels like they’re saying, ‘you’re on the right track.’ They see that we’re creating a safe, accessible and welcoming space for NOTL kids, and for us, seeing community support confirms the need for what we’re doing.”
Last year’s Santa Run, which also started from Simcoe Park and attracted about 250 people, was such a success, even with COVID restrictions, organizer Kelly Arnott began planning for 2022, and the Santa and Elf Run is a result of that.
She recalls at the last minute having to stagger races to reduce the number of people in each event. This year, she can confidently order 600 Santa suits for adult runners, and would love to have at these that many runners, with chipped timed results, crystal medals that can be used as Christmas ornaments for those who finish, and prizes for the top three runners in each age division.
Kids who participate in the 1K run will be given elf hats.
The town will look beautiful and wintry, and it’s the perfect time to get in the Christmas spirit, she says.
And after the event, there will be a breakfast sandwich at The Irish Harp, and Tim Hortons coffee, hot chocolate and Timbits.
Plus, all the Santas get a goodie bag, she says.
VPro has lowered registration fees for the event to direct $10 toward the NOTL Youth Campus fundraising campaign. As part of the registration process, participants will be required to donate this $10 towards this youth initiative.
There will also be a collection of non-perishable food and toy donations for Newark Neighbours.
The run will be held Dec. 18, beginning at 10 a.m.
To register, visit https://raceroster.com/events/2022/57574/notl-realty-ltd-santa-and-elf-run.