Santa Suit 5k Raises Money for Local Non-Profit

By Lea Hervey |

santa suitsOn December 13, 2014 St. Augustine Youth Services will host an annual holiday race with a twist: all participants will be dressed in holiday attire.

This will be the third annual Santa Suits on the Loose 5k, in which participants will wear Santa suits while racing along St. Augustine Beach. The first 300 registered adults will receive free Santa suits and children will receive Santa-inspired t-shirts for the event.

All profits from the race registration will be donated to St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS), a local non-profit organization for boys who have been neglected and/or abused. SAYS is home to about 30 young boys ranging from ages six to 18 who are in need of therapeutic services.

Founded in 1989, the mission of SAYS is to provide a safe and structured environment in which each child will learn effective coping and communication skills to assist them throughout the rest of their lives. SAYS is located on US 1 South at the Dupont Center.

Every year the race is organized by SAYS and a group of local volunteers. This year, Amanda Sims has taken a large role in helping to organize the event.

“We do not get paid to put this together.  It is all for charity and we could not do it without our wonderful local sponsors and the runners,” Sims said.

The race was originally started by Mary Jacobs from Sunliner Realty and Sovereign-Jacobs Property Management Group.

Rather than just race along St. Augustine beach, the vision was to bring some holiday cheer to the city and encourage participants to wear the provided Santa suits or create their own unique costume.

“If you haven’t seen it, it is a blast,” Sims said. “People dress up or bring their own costumes.”

Last year there was even a Grinch costume seen strolling along the sand.

The spectators really get into the holiday spirit, too. Sims said that every year “one homeowner on the route puts out milk and cookies.”

As popularity and awareness grows each year, so has the amount of donations and runners for the event. The first year, the 5k had 220 runners and raised $10,000 and last year there were roughly 320 participants and around $13,000 raised. This year SAYS hopes to raise $15,000 or more.

The race will be held at 8 a.m. on Saturday, December 13. Registration costs $35 and begins at 6:30 a.m. on the morning of the race.

Participants will depart and finish at the St. Augustine Beach Pier located at 350 A1A Beach Blvd. The race is roughly 3.1 miles of flat course and will be professionally timed and scored by RaceSmith, Inc. For more information contact Amanda Sims at or click here:

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