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The Santa Speedo Run in Boston

A Unique, Annual Event for Charity


Santa Speedo Run
Photo courtesy Jon Ianelli
Every December, hundreds of runners, donned in little but sneakers, Santa Claus hats and, yes, Speedos, take to the streets of the Back Bay in an effort to raise money for charity. Since its inception in 2000, the Santa Speedo Run has raised nearly $1 million for various charities, a threshold it hopes to cross this year with a goal of $250,000 raised. What began 12 years ago with a few friends has grown into something of a national phenomenon, with similar events being held in such cities as Atlanta, Chicago, and Austin, Tex.

When: The 2011 Santa Speedo Run will take place on Dec. 10.

Where: Check-in and the finish line are both at Lir Tavern (903 Boylston St.). Check-in begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 12:45 p.m. During that span, runners are welcome to imbibe with some libations to prepare for the cold. The one-mile jog begins at 1 p.m., with a post-race party to follow at 1:30.

The course: As noted, the race begins at Lir and makes its way down Boylston turning onto Berkeley St. From there, runners proceed down Newbury St. before turning right onto Gloucester St., and ending back up at Lir. Spectators are welcome to watch the half-dressed runners along the route.

Attire: Holiday-colored Speedos are highly encouraged, though organizers ask that runners do not participate in thongs.

Other suggested attire includes:

Sneakers…of course
Santa hat, beard, and other holiday flair at the runner’s choosing
A bag in which to store your street clothes while running

How to register: Registration for the 2011 race is now open, but has reached its 500-runner capacity. However, there is a wait list for both teams and individuals should any entrants cancel for the event. Those interested in participating must be 21 years old, and submit a non-refundable $30 registration fee. Registrants as both teams and individuals must also file a personal commitment to raise at least $400 in donations.

Charity: This year’s charity is the Play Ball Foundation, a local outfit that aims to encourage middle school students to get involved in athletics. To get involved with Play Ball otherwise, visit their website for information on donating, volunteering, and events.

Other charities the run has benefited throughout its history are:

Hospitality Homes
Starlight Childrens' Foundation
Play Ball Foundation
Bottom Line
Crossroads for Kids
Cradles to Crayons
The Women's Lunch Place
The Ellie Fund
Eliot Community Human Services
Children's Hospital Boston
The Children's AIDS Program at Boston Medical Center
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
September 11th Children's Fund

Donate: Even if you don’t participate, the Santa Speedo Run invites you donate to a team or individual’s goal by visiting their website. Those who want to help may also mail donations to:

104 Cross St.
Belmont, Mass. 02478

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