Laurene Weste | A refreshing way to see Santa Clarita and earn rewards

Mayor Laurene Weste

Waking up on a beautiful, clear morning in the Santa Clarita Valley is invigorating. With crispness in the air, the thousands of acres of open space and miles of paved off-street trails are calling — just waiting to be explored and enjoyed.

As we’ve seen in 2020 — perhaps more than ever before — making sure you get in regular exercise is vitally important for both your physical and mental health. On mornings like these in the fall and winter, going outside allows you to inhale a breath of crisp, fresh air, get much-needed Vitamin D and explore places in Santa Clarita you may have never seen before.

Run Santa Clarita

To encourage residents to get outdoors, the city of Santa Clarita’s Arts and Events division launched the Run Santa Clarita virtual race series. Though the series began in October, there is still one weekend left that gives you the opportunity to earn a medal for the miles you walk or run. Many residents already begin or end their day with a relaxing run on our gorgeous paseos and trails, and the Run Santa Clarita series makes it easy to get a finisher’s medal for “completing” a virtual race.

The process is simple. All you need to do is visit to register for the virtual races taking place Dec. 18-20. You can sign up for one race for $40, which will get you a printable race bib, special event neck gaiter and a finisher’s medal. 

Any time during the designated weekend, walk or run at least a 5K (3.1-mile) course. The best part is that you can log your miles anywhere you’d like, so whether you prefer to run full speed ahead or walk and talk with your loved ones while you enjoy your morning coffee, the format is open to everyone.

Many Mile Challenge

Mental health and physical fitness are not just important for adults; it is critical we prioritize the needs of our children as well. The Many Mile Challenge, presented by Kaiser Permanente, does exactly that by encouraging children to get outdoors and have some fun.

The Many Mile Challenge is completely free and geared toward students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Every elementary school in Santa Clarita is asked to participate as their students run, walk or hike as many miles as possible before the end of 2020. Playing outdoors for 60 minutes can also be counted as 1 mile.

Students are tracking their miles individually and can submit them to and earn a variety of rewards for hitting set milestones. The Santa Clarita school with the most cumulative miles will also win a prize.

Both of these programs are excellent ways to finish 2020 and start 2021 off on the right foot. Not only that, but they also give you even more reason to discover parts of our wonderful valley that you and your children haven’t seen before. Track your miles on a hike of Towsley Canyon, get sweeping views of Santa Clarita on a walk through the Skyline Ranch area or enjoy the peace, quiet and serenity of the Santa Clara River Trail.

There are many more events and entertainment options that are being offered in non-traditional ways this fall and winter. From family events like Bingo Night and Trivia Night to instructional videos for kids to help develop athletic skills, the city has created new programming and resources that support the health and well-being of every resident. You can find these resources, events and more by visiting the city of Santa Clarita’s Virtual Rec Center at

As we approach the end of the year, I wish you and your loved ones continued good health and happiness in 2021. We are stronger together. Let’s all enjoy our beautiful valley.

Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].

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