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Surfing Madonna run grows again

ENCINITAS — The Surfing Madonna Beach Run continues to grow in both numbers and money raised in its third running, allowing the organization to expand its philanthropy, race representatives said.

The most recent installation of the race on Oct. 15 saw more than 4,300 runners from 40 states and several countries take to Moonlight State Beach for the 5K/10K event, a 15 percent increase over last year, said Bob Nichols, chairman and founder of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project, the nonprofit that runs the race.

“It was an absolute success, we received a ton of emails saying that they were impressed with the event and its organization,” Nichols said. “So all in all, we’re very excited, the turnout was great, the weather was perfect, the course was beautiful, the volunteers were great, so everything worked out.”

Nichols said that next year’s race will likely make history, as the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to officially name it the world’s largest beach run, a title the race organizers have unofficially used for two years.

All told, Nichols said, the race generated nearly $250,000 in revenue from registration, grants and sponsorship dollars. This will allow the nonprofit to meet and exceed its recent contractual agreement with the City of Encinitas to donate at least $100,000 back to several agencies for the benefit of the community.

Between Encinitas and Solana Beach, the California Department of State Parks and various nonprofits, Nichols estimates the nonprofit will donate closer to $140,000 as a result of the event.

The nonprofit can now turn its attention to its inaugural half marathon, which is scheduled for March 26. So far, Nichols said, registrations are running well ahead of the number they need to reach to meet fundraising goals — about 3,000 people.

Nichols said 2,400 people have signed up for the race to date, and he now expects somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 runners for the event.

If the race goes off as planned, Nichols said, it will allow the nonprofit to reach its ultimate goal of expanding its reach to beyond Encinitas and Solana Beach.

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