It’s not easy being Santa at nearly 10,000 feet — or his wife, or reindeer. Nonetheless, Breckenridge attracts more than 500 Santas and Mrs. Clauses, or that is, people dressed as the big red guy and his wife and his elves, at Race of the Santas. Kids (dressed as reindeer or mini Santas, of course) run too. This year’s event takes place Dec. 3, along with the Lighting of Breckenridge. It’s one of many holiday events taking place throughout December.
Though the Race of the Santas only stretches for six blocks down Breckenridge’s Main Street, “everyone says it’s the toughest six blocks they have run,” said Sandy Metzger, events director for the Breckenridge Tourism Office. “Running at almost 10,000 feet in a Santa or holiday outfit adds to the challenge. There are a few people who sprint the race, but the majority jog or walk the course. They’re just out to have fun and raise money for a great cause.”
The cause: Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, which provides life-changing outdoor learning experiences to people of all abilities. The race has raised more than $8,000 for past beneficiaries since the event began.
Beyond the great cause, the great fun of dressing up in a Santa or Mrs. Claus outfit, there’s a great incentive — or deterrent, depending upon how you look at it — to running at elevation, and that involves — you guessed it: cookies and milk.
“Think of the milk and cookie station as an obstacle along the race route, for race participants,” said Rachel Zerowin, spokesperson for the Breckenridge Tourism Office.
Winners this year get more than milk and cookies, they’re crowned with Ullr helmets (a Breckenridge tradition to honor Ullr, the Norse god of snow) and prizes.
Locals and visitors alike participate. There’s no need to come pre-outfitted, though if you happen to have your own Santa suit, registration is $15. If not, pick up a Santa suit at Vertical Runner or the Breckenridge Welcome Center for an additional fee. Costumed kids can join their parents for free.
Though the run is non-timed and all about having fun, the top three female and male finishers win prizes.
Of course, festivities don’t stop at the race. The festivities kick off on Friday, Dec. 2 when Breckenridge Creative Arts hosts the Handmade Holiday Craft Market, where you can pick up fine crafts including jewelry, ceramics, candles, accessories and more, with no gift item priced more than $50. The market runs Dec. 2-4 (4-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, noon-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4).
Other highlights include:
- The real Santa arrives at the Blue River Plaza for the lighting of the town tree
- Don’t miss the Bernese Mountain Dog Parade just before Race of the Santas
- Visit with the real Santa and at the Barney Ford House Museum (111 E. Washington Ave.), across from the Blue River Plaza
Visit GoBreck.com for a full schedule.