Nite Moves celebrates 25 years in Santa Barbara

Nite Moves celebrated its 25th anniversary on Wednesday night at Leadbetter Beach Park.

Find Wednesday’s race results HERE.

Event organizer Jake Clinton spoke with Presidio Sports about the popular run/swim social gathering held once-a-week during the warm-weather months.

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PRESIDIO: What do you remember most about the first ever Nite Moves?

JAKE CLINTON: What I remember most was that Philadelphia House was the supplier of the entrées and they came down with ribs. We were expecting 200 runners and the owner brought down 200 ribs, we had salad from the open door, and we had Bud Light because it was the Summer Sunset Bud Light series. We had 298 registered people and I ran over to the food place and said, ‘1 rib per person, 1 rib!’ Everyone was blown away because we had a hot rib, salad, and a beer at an evening run.

PRESIDIO: What is your favorite memory over these 25 years?

CLINTON: One of the memories would probably be during the second year, the night of the Painted Cave fire. I was just watching down there that night because I was going to run the San Francisco Marathon that weekend. We were standing there and there was a little stream of smoke, and then two streams of smoke, and by the time the runners came across the finish line, it was nuclear winter. There was ash everywhere. It was a terrible, terrible night.

PRESIDIO: How has this event evolved over the years?

CLINTON: Well, if you look at the photographs of the original couple of nights, it is virtually all men; you had to really look to find women. Now, it’s lots of women and families. I think that’s the biggest thing. My partner wanted to reach out to elite racers and I saw it as more of a family-oriented, local event. I really expanded the base and this event has kind of evolved into the event where you get people off the couch and come out to experience their first runs. There is a group from Jenny Schatzle tonight where 75% of them are experiencing their first run ever.

PRESIDIO: Where do you see Nite Moves 10 years from now?

CLINTON: I’m going to be an old guy by then! I just see it kind of staying a local event. Hopefully I find a guy, gal, or group that are willing to put in the effort to keep that going, because at some point in time, I’m going to have to hang up my starting gun.

PRESIDIO: When thinking back, what makes you the most proud about Nite Moves?

CLINTON: I think the fact that we have reached out to so many and that we have so many kids and families here now. This really is a community-oriented event. We have supported a lot of local non-profits that have helped us out like the Santa Barbara Equestrian Rescue Team, which were the volunteers on the course today.

We have also had a big partnership with Team in Training (TNT) for a long time. I try to reach out to those little local groups in order to keep it a local community event.

PRESIDIO: How has the typical athlete, or competitor, changed?

CLINTON: Well, the swim element was added the second year. The first year was a kayak but the kayaks just didn’t work – it was a little too cumbersome. But swimming and the triathlon have evolved into a great training program for those multi-athletes. So that’s an awesome part that has changed.

PRESIDIO: If this were the last Nite Moves ever, how would you like it to be remembered?

CLINTON: A great party, wonderful time, and good weather!

Interview by Alison Raack