Chicago, IL —
About 150 Speedo-clad runners stripped down to raise over $7,000 for Vital Bridges
on Saturday as part of Chicago's second annual Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run.
"To say that we were ecstatic with the turnout this year would be an understatement," said event co-organizer Jeff Colgan. "For this to be our second year we were hoping to double to 100 runners, but to blow past that number was amazing."
The runners and nearly 350 supporters gathered at Sidetrack
, 3349 N. Halsted, for the second annual event spearheaded by Colgan and his partner of 12 years, Karl Sponholtz.
from the Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run, by Anthony Meade
The Santa Speedo Run started in Boston in 2000 and thereafter migrated west to the Windy City, where the mainstream event raises money for the Chicago Diabetes Project. Last year, Colgan and Sponholtz adopted the idea in an effort to create an event that would directly benefit the LGBT community.
Chicago's first Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run was held on Dec. 10, 2011 in Andersonville. With only two weeks planning, the event raised nearly $3,000 with 50 runners and 150 supporters on one of the coldest days of the year - it was a brisk 28 degrees.
This Saturday, which also happened to be World AIDS Day, the weather cooperated with sunshine and a high near 60 degrees as runners in speedos and Santa hats ran 1-mile through the Boystown neighborhood.
"To be honest it's such a fun event and everyone was confirming online weeks in advance of the race, we think the turnout would have been good even with colder weather," Colgan told ChicagoPride.com. "These Santas were ready for whatever came their way!"
A number of local businesses added to the success of the event with door prizes that raised over $2,000.
"We'd really like to take one more opportunity to thank Chuck Hyde and the entire Sidetrack
staff for helping us host a great day this year," said Colgan. "We hope everyone continues to shop in Boystown and Andersonville this holiday season."Vital Bridges
, a Chicago-based non-profit that provides those impacted by HIV/AIDS with food, housing, nutrition counseling and other services.
(View more photos
by Andy Ambrosius on Lakeview Patch)