Friday, May 25 , 2018, 10:20 am | Mostly Cloudy 63º


Reef & Run Brings Family-Friendly Beach Party Atmosphere to Competition

Tuesday evening run-and-ocean swim contests also feature bands, barbecue and fun

Since its inception last year, the Santa Barbara Reef & Run has grown to be more than just an athletic spectacle. Every Tuesday (rain or shine) beginning in late April and spanning for 20 weeks until September, local athletes show up to run and swim along Santa Barbara’s beautiful East Beach.

In addition to providing a competitive, yet friendly atmosphere for all participants, the event serves as a relaxing setting for families, friends and just about anyone else who wants to enjoy the communion of a weekly beach gathering.

Now in its second season, Reef & Run was established last year by Jane Cairns and Richard La Claire. While the athletic competitions highlight the weekly exhibition, both founders had greater intentions than just a few simple races in the formation of Reef & Run.

“We wanted a really low-key and simple event,” Cairns said. “Although it’s a competition, we want people to come down, enjoy the setting and the local music, and to not be afraid of the pressures to compete. It’s a very family-friendly setting in a relaxed and easy atmosphere. Everything is friendly, and we just want people to enjoy themselves.”

“It’s an event for people to take away their stress and release all of their negative energy,” La Claire added. “We encourage people to come down, barbecue, and just have fun.”

The event’s mood, atmosphere and friendliness were lauded more than anything by those in attendance this past Tuesday.

Jeremy Vaa, a participant in the event as well as an economics teacher at San Marcos High School, exclaimed that “it’s a great event with awesome competition in a fun environment. The music is refreshing and it’s a great time being out here. It is definitely one of the reasons to live in Santa Barbara.”

Paula Bautista, an adviser at UCSB, brought her whole family the beach while she participated in the competition.

“It’s definitely a good place to bring the family,” she said. “We used to do Nite Moves, but this is easier to bring the kids to and is a more family-friendly setting.”

The nonprofit event gives back to the community, with proceeds benefiting other nonprofit organizations, like helping youth groups participate in more outdoor activities.

With many sponsors on board, such as Esau’s Café, Fueled Sports Performance and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, and it’s apparent that Reef & Run is on the rise and will continue to achieve more and more publicity as time goes on.

“We’re still very new,” Cairns explained. “We want to get the word out and get everyone involved. It’s a great event and we’ve had great support.”

Centrally located next to East Beach’s Cabrillo Pavilion Bathhouse, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., it’s the perfect place for anyone to come by and start up the barbecue, enjoy a beautiful Southern California beach and just relax. There is no need to feel pressured to participate in the athletic portions of the event as there are plenty of people to hang out with while those daring enough swim and run against each other in the friendliest of competition.

Each Tuesday through Sept. 7, the event offers a 1-mile ocean swim, 1k ocean swim, 2-mile run, 4-mile run or 1k swim/2-mile run (duathlon). There are weekly prizes and giveaways, too.

The setting of East Beach paired with the sounds of live local musical talent creates the quintessential Santa Barbara summer evening. Whether it’s a group of friends or the whole family, Santa Barbara Reef & Run offers an environment that people of all ages can enjoy.

Click here for more information on Santa Barbara Reef & Run.

Noozhawk intern Michael Goldsholl will be a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University in the fall. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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