Dozens of people will take part in an annual Christmas-themed run this weekend.
The Salvation Army and Running Room will host the Santa Shuffle 5K Fun Run and 1K Elf Walk at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre on Saturday at 10 a.m.
“It’s about getting out there, getting dressed up and having fun,” said Taylor Poor, race director and Salvation Army Red Deer community ministries co-ordinator.
“A lot of people come dressed in onesies as elves, reindeer or Santa.”
The Santa Shuffle was started in Edmonton 28 years ago to raise money for local Salvation Army initiatives. In 2001, the run became a national event, with locations in every province, and in 2017, there were 16,000-plus participants who raised more than $650,000 nationwide.
Poor said the event has been in Red Deer for seven or eight years. About 180 people participated in 2017’s event – more than 180 participants are registered this year.
“We’re trying to build (anticipation) for the run each year. We want to get it out there … and make it something where people want to do it annually.
“There aren’t too many opportunities to get outside at this time of year because of the cold,” Poor said.
Anyone can participate in the event, regardless of age or skill level, Poor added.
“I know one person in their 70s who is coming to the race. We could have anyone from babies to seniors coming,” she said. “Individuals, like myself, who aren’t particularly athletic can participate in the walk.”
All money raised at the Red Deer run stays in the community through various Salvation Army programs, including its backpack program, clothing vouchers, emergency disaster relief and its small operational food bank, which serves about 60 families a month.
The event will happen, regardless of how cold it gets.
“The first year I did the Santa Shuffle it was -38, or -40 with windchill,” she said. “But we don’t cancel because it’s a nationally run race.
Online registration closed Wednesday night, but participants can still register Thursday (5 to 8 p.m.) and Friday (1 to 8 p.m.) at the Running Room, or before the event on Saturday. For more information, visit www.santashuffle.ca.