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Thursday November 2nd, 2017

Posted at 9:45am

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Run Santa, run! Although Christmas is over a month away, some holiday magic is coming to Amherstburg early.

Supporting the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF,) the 9th annual Super Santa 5k Run/Walk is set to take place on Saturday, November 18th. Starting at 5pm, the event will coincide with Amherstburg’s Winter Lights River Festival.

Suiting up as jolly ol’ St. Nick, participants can expect to see some beautiful scenery.

“The route is essentially a tour of beautiful downtown Amherstburg,” said event planner Alex Denonville. “Participants will start at the intersection of Richmond and Ramsay, turn right on Dalhousie and run/walk around Toddy Jones Park, which features a number of light displays sponsored by local businesses and organizations. From there, racers will take a quick jaunt through the Fort Malden National Historic Site then get back onto Dalhousie to head south. They’ll take a quick right after the Park House Museum to enter Navy Yard Park, another nationally-recognized historic site. Participants will enjoy the park’s scenic trail along the Detroit River  before getting back onto Dalhousie where they’ll pass through much of downtown Amherstburg before the turnaround point at Lowes Side Road. From the turnaround, racers will head back north along Dalhousie before a final turn into the finish line.”

Originally modelled after a similar Santa Run in Las Vegas, last year’s event drew just under 500 people. Seeing steady growth from the start, organizers hope to top that number on November 18.

“This event is perfect for all ages and abilities,,” said Denonville. “It’s just as much a festive experience as it is an athletic endeavour. We often see families come back year-after-year and we’ve welcomed many school and corporate teams. For many, the Super Santa Run serves as an official kick-off to the holiday season and a great way to get active while supporting a good cause.”

Being one of ERCF’s largest fundraising events, the Super Santa 5K brought in over $10,000 in 2016. This year’s proceeds will go towards four pillars that include connecting the community through trails, greening the region, inspiring future generations through outdoor education and preserving local heritage at John R. Park Homestead.

With fireworks starting shortly after the run, Amherstburg’s Winter Lights River Festival is geared towards families as well. Including several attractions, it’s another way for volunteers and participants to celebrate the holiday season.

Adults can take part in the run by paying a $40 entry fee. Youth 16 and younger pay $30 and Teams of 10 or more receive $5 off. Race day registration takes place in General Amherst High School’s gymnasium starting at 11 a.m.: Those who wait must pay another $5 however.

People wanting to register in advance can either do so via RaceRoster or through the Essex Region Conservation Authority’s website. Although people taking part are still encouraged to dress warm,, their entry fee will cover a Santa suit, water station halfway through the race and hot snack from event partner Sobey’s Amherstburg after completing the 5K route.

Whatever the reason for participating, it’s an event that no one will forget.

“This event is a great way to kick off the holiday season while getting active and supporting local conservation projects,” said Denonville. “While it is a timed race, most of our participants do it for fun and to get into the holiday spirit. To run or walk in a sea of Santas is truly a unique experience.”

For those interested, a full rundown of the foundation’s funding priorities can be found online.

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