Why New Bedford’s Santa Run Will Move to Mattapoisett This Weekend
Two-time Boston Marathon champion Geoff Smith launched the New Bedford Santa Run back in 2011. At its height, the Santa Run attracted over 1,500 runners in 2013 and 2014.
I was one of those runners over those two years. I can tell you that it was quite a sight to see 1,500 skinny Santas running through the streets of New Bedford at once with Christmas music blaring through the speakers at the downtown start/finish line. It was one of those events that gave you that warm, Christmas feeling in your belly.
Even though the New Bedford Santa Run was a relatively new event, it felt like an old-time tradition. It wouldn't have surprised me one bit to see the New Bedford Santa Run last 100 years. It was just one of those classic New Bedford events.
That's not likely to happen now. The run will be moved to Mattapoisett this Saturday. Smith said the reason is financial.
"It comes down to finances," he said. "At the end of the day, the event I'm putting on needs to be financially viable, and it just got to the point that it just wasn't anymore in New Bedford."
The main issue is the cost of police in New Bedford.
"I totally get it," Smith said. "I understand 100 percent where the police are coming from. The event needs 12 police in New Bedford because we close down some major roads (like Route 18). That takes a lot of work from the police."
In contrast, shutting down the sleepy Mattapoisett village roads won't take more than about four officers.
"It was a very difficult decision to make to move the run out of New Bedford, but the increasing bills would have forced me to increase the cost to the runners. With already falling numbers, I think it would have put an end to the run completely," Smith said.
Roughly 150 Santas have registered to run at nbsantarun.com. Registration is still open.