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Booze-toting Virgin Marys add spice to Santa Run

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A site captured on the Santa Run route.
Photo: Justice

The Las Vegas Great Santa Run was on Saturday morning. I had been at work until 5 a.m. the night before. I took an hourlong nap in the car before lining up to meet the 8 a.m. registration deadline. I parked at a downtown casino and walked down Fremont Street, under the canopy. I love downtown. I used to work as a waitress in a bar there. There is an inimitable campy charm about downtown that always draws me back.

Needless to say, I was exhausted. I had been up all night dancing and I was about to participate in a run. I couldn’t pass up an event like this in Vegas, though. It was too funny. At registration, they hand you a cheap Santa suit complete with a fake white beard. Thousands of people in stupid costumes? That sort of thing is right up my alley.

I met up with a friend there. I think that he was another major reason why I decided to go through with the Santa run. It was a back-and-forth, “I’ll do it if you do it.” It was a matter of calling the other’s bluff. We both showed up, bright and early and too proud for our own good. Our team name was the Virgin Marys.

It was a sea of red velvet at the start line. There were all sorts of people there. Robin Leach and the mayor were there. If the mayor is there, so are the showgirls. Some people there were hardcore athletes who were actually going to run. Some people just came with their kids and pets for a stroll. My friend and I walked the race route with plastic footballs full of Bloody Marys. There were other drinking Santa’s on the route. The event was for charity, so we’re absolved of inappropriate behavior and anyway what is a Las Vegas event with out a little booze?

Along the route, people were shedding pieces of their costumes as the weather got warmer. A red velvet triangle hat here, a scraggly white beard there, and black plastic belts all over the place. The Virgin Marys discarded the partially consumed Bloody Marys and began to run at the end of the race where all the cameras shot the event. We had to look like good sports for the paparazzi. After the race I slept for a few hours and went back to work that night.

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