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Two decades of shuffling

Festive cardio: Dan Clements of Suffolk serves as Santa Claus, while WVEC meteorologist Craig Moeller talks to a crowd of costumed runners at a previous edition of the Santa Claus Shuffle 5K Race and One Mile Fun Run & Walk. The latest edition will be held on Dec. 13. Photo submitted by Jeannie Martin

Festive cardio: Dan Clements of Suffolk serves as Santa Claus, while WVEC meteorologist Craig Moeller talks to a crowd of costumed runners at a previous edition of the Santa Claus Shuffle 5K Race and One Mile Fun Run & Walk. The latest edition will be held on Dec. 13.
Photo submitted by Jeannie Martin

The Tidewater Youth Services Foundation hopes to kindle the holiday spirit in people all around the area during the 20th Santa Claus Shuffle 5K Race and One Mile Fun Run & Walk in Olde Towne Portsmouth on Dec. 13.

“It’s fun and family-oriented, really festive,” said Jeannie Martin, executive director of the Tidewater Youth Services Foundation. “People who participate come back year after year.”

As in the past, the event will feature a costume contest. Dressed in their creative getup, people can be part of the contest by getting their photo taken at a booth provided.

In addition to the prize for the costume contest winner and the awards given to the top 5K racers, there will be door prizes.

Refreshments will also be provided, including hot apple cider, hot chocolate and bagels.

“Starbucks comes and actually serves coffee,” Martin said.

The Santa Claus Shuffle serves as a major fundraiser for the Tidewater Youth Services Foundation, providing 20 percent of its budget to help at-risk and court-involved youth.

The TYSF was established in 1991 to support a public agency called the Tidewater Youth Services Commission, which helps troubled youths grow into productive members of the community.

According to SantaClausShuffle.org, proceeds from the event are used to support TYSF offerings like its Outdoor Adventure Program and its Literacy Program. Funds also go to meet the needs of individual youth and their families, including helping them pay their utility bills or pay for medication or clothing.

“Over the years, our foundation has become more proactive,” Martin said.

She encouraged people to come to the Santa Claus Shuffle because “it’s great fun. It gets you in the holiday spirit, and it helps a great cause.”

“We get people from North Carolina, all throughout the region, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, really all over the place,” she said. “I’ve had people from out of state that are in-state visiting family.”

Some people come up with creative group names and sign up together. For groups of at least 10 people, each group member will get a $5 discount.

Through Nov. 14, groups can sign up for the 5K for $25, and individuals can do so for $30. Also through Nov. 14, groups can sign up for the one-mile fun run and walk for $15 and individuals can do so for $20.

Group and individual rates each go up by $5 after Nov. 14, and a group rate will only be available through Nov. 28.

Visit SantaClausShuffle.org and click on the “Fees and Registration” link to register online or print out a paper registration form.

Registration will be possible in person on race day.

The one-mile fun run and walk will start at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K will start at 9 a.m.

For more information, contact Jeannie Martin at 488-9161 or jmartin@tysfoundation.