Take to the streets in a Santa hat and Speedo for this Back Bay tradition

You'll at least raise money for a good cause while you freeze.

During the annual Santa Speedo Run which started at the Lir Irish Pub & Restaurant on Boylston Street, a runner in a body suit carrys a large mp3 player sound sytem running at the start on Dec. 11, 2010.
The annual Santa Speedo Run on Dec. 11, 2010. – John Tlumack/Globe Staff

To partake in this holiday tradition, you’ll need sneakers, a Speedo, and not much else.

The Santa Speedo Run, a charity run for the Play Ball! Foundation, will return to the Back Bay on Dec. 9. When the run began in 2000, it included just five runners. Now the jolly jog limits its herd to 700 participants and raises money to create and fund athletic leagues for more more than 1,200 students in Boston Public Schools.

Runners gather at the start line for the annual Santa Speedo Run on Dec. 14, 2013. —Gretchen Ertl/Reuters

Anyone aged 21 or older is eligible to run the approximately mile-long route, which starts at Lir, an Irish pub on Boylston Street, moves down to Berkeley Street, and then up Newbury Street and back to the pub.


Unsurprisingly, sneakers and Speedo-like attire are required. Holiday-colored outfits, Santa hats, beards, and other festive additions are encouraged. The one thing the organizers ask you to leave at home? The thong.

“We know you have the body to pull it off, so why prove what’s obvious?” reads a statement on the run’s website.

The same statement also recommends that you wear street clothes to the event and bring a bag in which to stash those clothes when it’s go time.

Participants in the annual Santa Speedo Run leave the starting line on Dec. 8, 2012. —Brian Snyder/Reuters

The event requires a $30 registration fee. Participants are given incentives, including access to a pre- and post-run party at Lir, drink tickets, and swag for hitting fundraising benchmarks, which start at $250. Since its first year, the Santa Speedo Run has raised more than $1.5 million for children’s charities.

More information can be found on the run’s website.

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