It wasn't until Nite Moves organizer John R. Clinton reached Leadbetter Beach around 4 p.m. on Wednesday that he realized how significantly the Jesusita Fire was affecting Santa Barbara. "I was driving down there in my truck and I kept getting calls from people asking about the event," Clinton said. "Then I turned on the radio and heard what had been going on." One of those calls came from the a city employee, who informed Clinton that lifeguards wouldn't be available for the 500-meter swim portion of the run/swim event. Despite the black clouds that lurked in the hills, Clinton and his team pressed to remain on schedule.
Wednesday night marked the first of the 18-race series Nite Moves, which takes place every Wednesday until September 2. Participants can either walk/run the featured 5K course (beginning at the east end of Shoreline and ending at Leadbetter Park) or dive into the 1K open ocean swim. For those prepared to complete a biathlon, participants may also compete in a 1K swim and 3.5-mile run. Registration begins at 5:05 p.m. followed by swim races at 6:25 p.m. and running races at 6:35 p.m. Nite Moves also provides food, drinks, and entertainment that begin at 6:35 p.m.
This past Wednesday night, the band Ocean Starland performed, the beer garden offered Firestone, and State and A Bar and Grill supplied Nite Moves with enough food for participants to have seconds. But due to the Jesusita fire, rather than the 500 participants Clinton expected, only 80 people showed. Offering his support for the hard-working firefighters, Clinton stopped by fire stations to donate food from the event.
"It was the lowest turn out that I have ever seen for Nite Moves," Clinton said. "But I hope that we gave relief to a few people and maybe even a time out from the tragedy around us."
For Goleta residents, the UCSB Recreation Department and Triathlon team will continue their kick off of the annual Surf and Turf five-day race series. Participants may take part in a 5K run and/or 500-meter ocean swim. For those participants who don't want to swim, single running events are a option. The running course covers trails around the UCSB lagoon and Manzanita Village with ocean views at nearly every step. Prizes will be raffled away, while Silvergreens and FRS energy drinks will provide food samples and drinks.
The series includes five races, taking place Fridays, May 8-June5, and costs $65. Individual races cost $15 each. Race fees can be paid online at www.recreation.ucsb.edu. Adults and children eight-years and up are welcome to compete.
Runners involved in the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon should have little to worry about, according to an update posted on the race's website at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning. The fire has not affected the Santa Ynez course, but participants should be aware of high winds and heat. The race will continue as scheduled this Saturday, May 9.