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Yuletide 5K: On Your Mark, Get Set, Glow!

Dec 04, 2014 09:38AM ● By DigMB Staff
Since 2002, runners and walkers have been digging their shoes and toes into the shoreline sand at two unique times, marking the Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, thanks to event founder, runner and Olympian Jeff Atkinson of Manhattan Beach.

And this Saturday, runners, walkers and baby joggers will once again blaze a colorful trail along the coeanfront from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the jetty at 45th Street and back during what is one of the Southland's best holiday events: the Manhattan Beach Yuletide 5K.

"The first Yuletide 5k was held in December of 2002," said Jeff. "It poured rain and we all waited to start under the pier. While waiting, the drain pipes opened up and a flood of street runoff carried timing equipment and lots of people's clothes out to sea! Even after all that, the crowd was enthusiastic and loved the elements. I think the rain and wind actually made people stoked that they were doing something unique."

There's no doubt, the Yuletide 5K is a unique event, held every year since its inaugural running. This year's event, the 13th, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6 and promises to be every it as fun and unique as its predecessors.

"I designed this event to celebrate the Winter Solstice," explained Jeff. "The lowest tides of the year occur around the Winter and Summer Solstices, so I thought it would be cool to have a pair of events that maximized everything that is great and/or unique about South Bay running.

"The stretch from the (Manhattan Beach) pier to the jetty at 45th is one of the longest and most runnable on the coast. It is at its best at extreme low tide when the sand becomes firm like a dirt road. The fact that those tides occur in the morning in the summer and the evening in the winter is too cool to ignore.

"If one runs both events, one can compare times from summer/winter, morning/evening, and light/dark, on the exact same course," he told DigMB, "not to mention how beautiful it is to be out there along the sea when nobody else is, during a summer sunrise or a winter sunset.

Atkinson, who organizes the two solstice runs every year, runs the Yuletide 5K. Said Jeff, "I run it every year. I’ve won a couple back in the day, but I’m too old and slow now."

Given the races' ties to Mother Nature, each running in June and December is held on different dates every year.

Said Jeff of race attendance: "We had about 600 last year, but it varies year to year because the date changes based on the tide. We even ran it on Christmas day a couple years ago."

Manhattan Beach Confidential is proudly sponsoring the race for the second year in a row.

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