All right -- a fun race with a good idea and dedication to the theme! I knew we'd be able to find a race in Currituck County, right on the beach in the northern end of the Outer Banks, but when I discovered the mid-week "Christmas in July" Sweaty Santa 5k, it was obviously worth a vacation day for the trip! Some race organizers have a good idea for a race, but may not throw themselves into it whole hog, but the Sweaty Santa 5k organizers, the good folks at Village Realty OBX and Outer Banks RunCations, really went all out! Plus, Kathy is a big costume and themed race fan, so she was all the more excited to have a chance to run in her reindeer antlers with me in my Santa cap. So it's off to the coast we go!
The race was set up on the property of the historic Whalehead Club, a building that dates to the 1920s and served as an oceanfront retreat for wealthy hunters and conservationists before being converted to a preserved historic building. We arrived race morning and had no problems picking up our packets and enjoying the pre-race festivities. Santa was there himself, in his summer garb of flip-flops, walking shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and straw hat. We even got to have our picture made with him! The organizers had set up a selfie-ready small living room with Christmas tree and recliner, and even the start/finish scaffolding was decorated with pine boughs, a wreath, and tinsel! Each runner got their own Santa hat! (but mine was nicer) And the PA system was playing Christmas carols in the lead-up to the race. Great execution on the race theme!
Finally all the Santas, elves and reindeer, just under 400 in all, got lined up and we were out through the Whalehead property and back on highway 12, the road that goes north/south through the Outer Banks. We turned north and headed for the sandy north end of the island, running on sidewalks and the sides of the road where possible. It was a very hot, humid morning, so we were all soaked very quickly and starting to overheat as the sun beat down on us. Fortunately there was water at the turnaround on the northern end, just a little short of where highway 12 becomes the sandy seashore. Headed back, we had a bit of a breeze, which helped, plus we were able to look at some very pretty coastal homes that dot the area around Corolla. To make the race the full 5k length, when we re-entered the Whalehead property, we ran a loop around a separate parking lot that fronts the historic Currituck Lighthouse and then nearly circled back to highway 12 before making a straight line to the finish area! Goodness gracious, it was hot, and I was glad to dive into the post-race fluids and then get in line for a very nice post-race hot breakfast!
We were welcome to hang out at the Whalehead Club post-race, and we found two rocking chairs (in the shade) overlooking the sound to eat our breakfasts and watch some kids play in the yard. Then we went walking around the rest of the property, including ascending the 220 steps to the top of the lighthouse! Great concept all around and excellent execution on the first annual Sweaty Santa 5k!