San Diego Running Scene

How Exactly Does San Diego Santa Run ‘Save’ the Parade?

You may have been to San Diego Santa Run and experienced the sea of Santa’s, all 4,000+ of them. Even if you haven’t, you hopefully have read how the run supports the Pacific Beach Holiday Parade. But what does that exactly mean?

The parade is hosted each year by Discover Pacific Beach, a non-profit organization, which works with the businesses of Pacific Beach to revitalize and promote the Pacific Beach Community physically and economically. Basically, they are like the Chamber of Commerce for the Pacific Beach community. One way of supporting their mission is to host annual events throughout the year, such as the parade.

The challenge with the parade is that it’s quite expensive to host, nearly $20,000/year expensive. These costs are attributed to items such as San Diego Police to close the streets, traffic control equipment, portable bathrooms, street cleaning, permits, stages, audio and more. The parade even had to be cancelled a few times due to these high costs.

When we learned about this back in 2013, the idea for San Diego Santa Run was born. The concept was we would host a run on the same route as the parade, just before the parade started. By doing so, we’d share many of the same expenses such as police, traffic control and permitting. The hope was that as the event grew, we could take on more and more of these expenses.

And that is exactly what happened. 6+ years and thousands of running Santa’s later, this approach has saved tens of thousands of dollars for Discover Pacific Beach, all while bringing thousands of people each year into the community to run, shop, eat and enjoy the parade!

7th Annual San Diego Santa Run will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2019, followed by the annual PB Holiday Parade. To learn more or to register, go to:

Check out the 2018 San Diego Santa Run video!