On Thanksgiving morning, ZeeBlu hosted the first ZeeBlu 5K & Family Fun Run.
The course ran from Leadbetter Beach to East Beach and back, with 249 runners, more than 20 volunteers and 200 spectators.
The event raised more than $6,000 for the Daniel Bryant Youth Foundation and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. All leftover food was donated to the Casa Esperanza Homeless Center. Select Staffing was a major sponsor of the event.
It was 7 a.m. Thursday, and Leadbetter Beach was socked in with fog, but a group of people, all in blue, hustled to set up food and registration stations. The team was from ZeeBlu, and they were preparing to host their first Thanksgiving 5K & Family Fun Run. Representatives from the Foodbank and businesses from ZeeBlu’s Tribal Network were there with booths ready to hand out snacks and swag. Byron Elton was in attendance as the event’s emcee.
Runners and spectators and their families began trickling in at 8 a.m., and over the next hour 100 new racers had registered bringing the total number of runners to 249. At 9 a.m., Zee, ZeeBlu’s blue striped zebra mascot, dropped his arms and the race was on.
Ricky Ho was the official winner of ZeeBlu’s 2013 5K with a time of 16:52. As more and more racers crossed the finish line, the beach became a festive hangout for spectators, runners and their families. Businesses that sponsored the event were handing out cards and prizes. When everyone had finished the race, it was time for the Family Fun Run. All the children gathered on the beach, sprinted a short course through the sand, and high-fived Zee as they crossed the finish line.
“The race greatly exceeded our expectations,” ZeeBlu CEO Chad Ratliffe said. “Many people have come up to me today and said that they have a new Thanksgiving tradition for the whole family. That gets me pumped up. Plus, we raised over $6,000 for charity! That’s what really matters. And next year is going to be even more successful.”
— Chris Tarello represents ZeeBlu.