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Charitable Holiday Race Comes to Ventura County This Weekend

Race Director Mike Barber decorates near Big Santa where the half marathon begins on Sunday.

One of the most charitable holiday fitness events in Ventura County is happening this coming weekend.

Mike Barber decorates trees surrounding a giant Santa Claus that sits next to Highway 101 in the Oxnard community of Neyland Acres. He’s the race director for the annual Santa to the Sea that kicks off on Sunday at this very spot.

Barber said the race -- which includes a half marathon, a 5K, a two-person relay and a kids fun run -- is not just about fitness.

"We ask all our runners to also bring a toy to the start line," he said.

He expects to collect 3,000 toys. And those toys will be given out to needy Ventura County children.

“Some of these kids, the only thing they get for Christmas is a toy that they get here,” he said.

Santa to the Sea also raises money for Ventura County nonprofits and for college scholarships for Ventura County residents.

"It’s all about giving back,” Barber said.