Eight Thousand Santas Help Bring World Santa Challenge Trophy to Opportunity Village and Las Vegas

GSR 2012 Crowd at Town Square Las Vegas
Opportunity Village
’s seventh annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run at Town Square Las Vegas welcomed 8,123 Santas Saturday, December 3 (Pictured above: GSR 2012 Crowd at Town Square Las Vegas – Photo Credit: Mignon Lazatin, Opportunity Village)

Jabbawockeez perform at GSR 2012 at Town Square Las Vegas
Jabbawockeez perform at GSR 2012 at Town Square Las Vegas

Photo Credit: Mignon Lazatin, Opportunity Village.

The attendance numbers reached a new record for the World Santa Challenge, beating out Liverpool who previously held the record with 7,312 participants.*  The official trophy will soon be delivered to Opportunity Village.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman with Rio's Chippendales at GSR 2012 at Town Square Las Vegas
Mayor Carolyn Goodman with Rio's Chippendales at GSR 2012 at Town Square Las Vegas

Making this year’s race a global initiative, nearly 500 men and women with the Army National Guard participated in the race from Afghanistan. SPC Cintya Martinez and the 422 Signal Battalion organized the race and raised $8,700 for Opportunity Village.

US Soldiers prepare for GSR in Afghanistan
US Soldiers prepare for GSR in Afghanistan

Photo credit: SPC Cintya Martinez, Bravo Co. 422nd ESB.

In Las Vegas, runners experience a star-studded lineup featuring entertainment from a number of Las Vegas Strip headliners, parachuting Santa Clauses, special guests and more.

Group of US Soliders before GSR in Afghanistan
Group of US Soliders before GSR in Afghanistan

Photo credit: SPC Cintya Martinez, Bravo Co. 422nd ESB.

Prior to the race, runners were energized with high-energy performances by Jabbawockeez, Recycled Percussion and Zowie Bowie. Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, heated up the opening ceremony speaking to the crowd flanked by two shirtless Chippendales while Honorary Chair, Robin Leach, did the same with Las Vegas Showgirls. The event’s Grand Marshal, Terry Fator, also took the stage discussing Opportunity Village’s importance to the community before kicking off the 5K race. The event also featured five parachuting Santa Clauses courtesy of Las Vegas Extreme Sky Diving.

US Soldiers running for GSR in Afghanistan
US Soldiers running for GSR in Afghanistan

Photo credit: SPC Cintya Martinez, Bravo Co. 422nd ESB.

The Las Vegas Great Santa Run serves as a fundraising effort to benefit Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas-based, not-for-profit organization that serves people with intellectual disabilities to improve the quality of their lives and the lives of their families. Opportunity Village is the largest private provider of vocational training, employment, advocacy and recreation for people with disabilities in Nevada and is currently serving 1,700 people every day with severe disabilities.

* The World Santa Challenge was created by Santa Fun Run events in the United Kingdom, United States and Tasmania to introduce an element of playful competition between Santa Fun Runs across the globe.