With days growing longer and pants getting shorter, summer’s coming fast, which means the Nite Moves Aquathon and Fun Run is once again kicking up its heels. The shoreline sunset race series is adding a range of distances to both the swim and run portions, so beginners and seasoned athletes alike can meet their goals.
“The diversity of competitors that come each year is increasing — everyone from families and exercise troupes to triathletes and just-for-fun runners,” said director Jay Campbell, who estimates about 400 people compete in each weekly race. “The number of women entrants has skyrocketed in the last three to four years.” As a participant since the race started in 1988, he would know.
But the races are only part of the fun. “It’s a sociable gathering,” said Campbell, as Nite Moves also includes plenty of post-race drinks, raffles, and live rock ‘n’ roll. “It brings together some great aspects — physical fitness, entertainment, camaraderie — and supports the community at the same time.” The race’s proceeds have gone on to support such nonprofits as Echelon, Santa Barbara Bike Club, Santa Barbara Athletic Association, TRI Club, the area chapter of TNT (Team in Training), and numerous schools. There’s also a free kids’ mile and soft-sand sprint for the littlest runners out there, and plenty of runners bring their dogs to the pet-friendly location.
Speaking from my own experience, I know I’ll clock a quicker 3.5 miles than I would on my own. There’s something about even casual competition that makes me push for my best, while the route from Leadbetter Beach to the Mesa allows me to run on turf through Shoreline Park, a preferred surface for my sometimes iffy knees, and makes me work harder to finish well.
Sign up for the May 4 race at active.com.