Santa Speedo Run to benefit Center on Halsted returns for 10th year, Dec. 4

Sun. November 28, 2021 9:23 AM by Ross Forman

photo credit // sidetrack

Photos: Flashback to 10 years of the annual Santa Speedo Run

Although the temperature is dropping, and snowy days are rapidly approaching, don’t pack away your Speedo just yet

Or at least prep a sexy, skimpy outfit for the annual Santa Speedo Run Northalsted, set for a milestone 10th year on Saturday, Dec. 4, with festivities starting at 12 noon and the 1-mile trek through Lakeview, starting and ending at Sidetrack, beginning at 2 p.m.

“Our goal is to create a fun, festive atmosphere to raise funds for local LGBTQ charities in Chicago,” said Karl Sponholtz who, with his husband, Jeff Colgan, are the event organizers. “We teamed up with (the) Center on Halsted in 2013 and the event has been held at Sidetrack for the past nine years.  Both have been remarkably helpful with the success of the event; Sidetrack through promoting and sponsorship, COH through volunteer staffing, and providing fundraising infrastructure.”

Sidetrack is one of the presenting sponsors this year, along with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Miller Lite, Vizzy and Perrier.  The other contributing sponsors this year are Men’s Room Chicago and Third Wing.

“Spectators and runners alike come dressed in their festive-best, though our Speedo-clad runners tend to get all the well-deserved attention,” Sponholtz said. “We’ve had teams of runners dress as Santa & his reindeer, the Glitter-Bearded Santas, the Hannukah Harrys, the Abominable Snowmen, the Nutcrackers, and the Sugarplum Fairies, to name a few. 

“All runners trek the one-mile route regardless of weather – we’re a tough crew and a little cold weather won’t stop us. One year it was a bone-chilling 17 degrees.”

“It’s a run, not a race – the day is about comradeship and fundraising for the community during the holidays.”

Jingle Balls is the event’s official song, which is sung before running.

The Santa Speedo Run was not an in-person event in 2020, but a small virtual event helped raise more than $30,000.

In 2019, with more than 1,000 in attendance, including 300 runners, the event raised more than $80,000.

“We are expecting a similar-sized crowd this year,” Sponholtz said. “I hate setting goals, but thus far we’ve managed to increase our fundraising beyond the year before – let’s hope we can keep that trend going.”

Debbie Fox again will serve as the event host, overseeing the awards, entertainment, and door prizes, set for 2:30 p.m.

Runners who bring in a $35 donation will get a Santa Sack, filled with goodies including an event t-shirt.  Runners that raise $300 or more get an official ‘Santa Speedo Run Northalsted 2021’ Speedo or sweatshirt.

David Roberts of Chicago is, once again, the leading fundraising for the event.

More information, including registration, is available online

Photo Flashback: Santa Speedo Run Northaslted