Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run Returns to Boystown Dec 7

Sun. November 24, 2013 10:32 AM by Anthony Morgano

photo credit // anthony meade

3rd annual holiday event to benefit Center on Halsted

Chicago, IL - On December 7th the streets of Boystown will once again be filled with scantily-clad Santas, randy reindeer and other holiday hunks running through the chilly streets of Chicago's gayborhood to raise money for the Center on Halsted. The Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run is back for it's third year and organizers Karl Sponholtz and his partner Jeff Colgan are ready to bring gay Chicago a new holiday tradition with all the trimmings.

"Winter will never be hotter while wearing so little! Last year just blew our socks off -- our community does not disappoint!" Sponholtz told "We far exceeded our expectations in everything from the amount of people who showed up to participate, to the gifts that were given to us from local businesses for our door prize drawing. We're amazed at how people show up and really 'own' this event! The costumes range from outrageous to sexy to hysterical, but that's not it -- they're really raising a lot of money for the charity too."

Sponholtz and Colgan adapted the Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run from similar events held around the country (the Windy City branch raises money for the Chicago Diabetes Project) in an effort to create a fun winter event that would bring the Chicago LGBT community together to directly benefit local nonprofits. They held their first event in December of 2011 in Andersonville and, after only two weeks of planning, 50 runners (both male and female) and 150 supporters came out on a brisk 28 degree day to raise $3,000 for Vital Bridges.

After the tremendous success of their first year, which including packing sponsor bar Sofo Tap and to capacity, the duo decided to move Most Fabulous Santa Speedo run to Sidetrack in Boystown. Year two more than doubled participation to attract 150 runners and nearly 350 supporters who gathered for a day of caroling, entertainment and door prizes.

The whole community came together, with DS Tequila offering half priced food for runners (an offer they're repeating this year) and several other local business like Taverna 750 and Windy City Sweets donating to the raffle, which helped raised another $7,000 for Vital Bridges. This year's event will be even bigger and better with the duo expecting 250 runners and over 600 total in attendance. They're returning to Sidetrack and also teaming up with the Center on Halsted, who is this year's benefiting organization.

"Pairing up with The Center on Halsted was love at first sight! Their outreach programs and volunteer base is unmatched," Sponholtz said. "They have been instrumental in the growth and development of the run this year. I think everyone really loves raising money for an organization that impacts their community in such a positive way."

As in years past, there will be a $25 minimum to run and every dollar that Santa brings the duo goes directly to charity. After sign-in and registration, the whole group will join together for a chorus of "Jingle Balls" -- Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run's yearly anthem -- filling Sidetrack with cheeky lyrics like "jingle balls, jingle balls/ look at how they've shrunk/ oh what fun it is to run/ when you're good and drunk." The runners then split into two groups (team "naughty" runs clockwise while team "nice" goes counterclockwise) and head out to run the mile along Halsted, Belmont, Broadway and Addison, clad only their holiday attire.

Costumes in the past have ranged from simply speedos or bikinis, Santa hats and running shoes to garland-laced harnesses, red peek-a-boo union suits, reindeers in drag, strategically placed bows and more. (But a picture is worth a thousand words -- check out coverage from last year's Run here on to see more.)

Not interested in being a runner? Join the throngs of supporters and official Santa Warmers cheering the runners on and waiting for them at the finish line with mittens and coats. After the chilly jaunt through Boystown, all participants and supporters regroup back at Sidetrack for an afternoon of awards, entertainment and prizes.

"Sidetrack is an excellent venue to host the event and they are a joy to work with, plus they have all the bells and whistles," Sponholz said. "In addition to their own gifts and generosity, Sidetrack has brought us sponsors that include Miller Lite and Halsted Vodka."

With their sight set on future events, Sponholtz and Colgan set goals for growth this year, all of which were met. These include having online registration as well as bringing additional sponsors on to the event, which allowed them to add some new incentives for runners. The first 250 who register with a donation of $25 or more will receive a "Santa Sack" filled with goodies, including their logo t-shirt, sunglasses, a participation medal, two free tickets to the Laugh Factory, one free drink at Hearty Boys and many other coupons and offers from local businesses that are still coming in.

Their sponsors, which this year include Sidetrack, The Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Miller Lite, The Center on Halsted, Sagin LLC, Stratagem Construction and iCandee, are also providing incentive prizes for reaching fundraising goals. Participants raising $200 or more receive either a custom Santa speedo or a Santa hoodie sweatshirt.

This year's door prizes are still being submitted, but Orbitz travel is once again providing the top prize: two round-trip tickets anywhere in the lower 48 states. Participation in this is vital the event's success as well -- the door prize drawing accounted for nearly half of the money raised last year.

"This year we'll also have one VERY sexy Santa attended by Elves to help," Sponholtz added. "For a $5 donation to the Center, you can sit on his lap and tell him what you want for Christmas -- it will also makes a good Christmas card, I promise!"

Interested participants can register as individuals or as teams online at or bring donations with them to Sidetrack on the day of the event, Saturday December 7th. Registration begins promptly at noon, with "Jingle Balls" slotted for 1:30 p.m. and the run itself starting at 2 p.m. Visit the above website for more information and photos of past year's events and also check out and RSVP to their Facebook event.

Don't miss your chance to participate in the third installment of what is sure to become a favorite holiday tradition here in gay Chicago.

"Jeff and I are just getting started -- we have big plans for the Run in the coming years. With a suggested donation of only $25, we think it's a fun, simple way for everyone to give during the holidays," Spoonholtz said. "We're working year-round to make every year better than the next. Boystown needs a winter event that brings the community together -- we think this is just the thing! It's more than event, it's a spectacle that truly celebrates the spirit of the holidays!"

Calendar: 3rd Annual Most Fabulous Santa Speedo Run (12/7)