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Race Directors Cancel Runs, Redirect Resources Because Of California Wildfires

The Thomas Fire burning in Ventura, Calif. Photo by Erin Donalson / shutterstock.com.

The Thomas Fire, one of the largest wildfires in California history, has been burning in Southern California since Dec. 4. As of yesterday, it now covers 272,000 acres and is 65 percent contained, according to the LA Times, and air-quality concerns in Southern California have affected at least two long-time holiday races.

The Santa to the Sea Half Marathon in Oxnard, which was set to take place on Dec. 9 and celebrate its 10th anniversary, was cancelled the Thursday before the race. Although it was a difficult decision, race director Mike Barber chose to make arrangements to collect toys to distribute shortly before Christmas, a goal of the popular race. The race also donated $5,000 each to the United Way of Ventura County, Red Cross of Central California and Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center. The race also donated a pallet of water to a local animal rescue center and food supplies went to a hunger relief organization.

Another Christmas-themed run, the Santa Monica–Venice Christmas Run, was to celebrate its 40th anniversary on Dec. 9, but rather than cancelling, organizers were able to reschedule for Saturday, Dec. 16. Race director Bruce Mitchell donated $25 of every race entry received in the last week before the rescheduled event to the Salvation Army, which has aided Ventura County fire shelters.

One other large fundraising effort is the #RunForVentura virtual 5K and fundraiser. So far, the fundraiser is about 40 percent of the way to its $10,000 goal, which will be donated to United Way of Ventura County.

Related:

How You Can Help The SoCal Fire Victims

Safety Tips For Training And Racing During Natural Disasters

Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the managing editor of Triathlete magazine. She's a mom, rec soccer player, multiple half-marathon finisher and is learning daily how to become a better triathlete.