Running with Santa

  • 2008-12-10
  • By Kristina Pauksens

SAVING CHRISTMAS: The first Santa Run to take place in Riga isn't just for fun - proceeds go toward a good cause.

RIGA - On Dec. 14, hundreds of Santas will take Riga by storm, running madly through the streets dressed in classic red and white Santa suits. They will bring joy, laughter and good old fashioned Christmas cheer to all of Riga. And you could be one of them.

The Santa Fun Run is coming to Riga to raise money for Rotary Club International. The money raised in this charity event will be used to bring a Care Mobile to Latvia. This is a high tech mobile medical center that provides free medical care to children in poorly served areas of Latvia.
Santa Fun Run participants will meet at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 14 in Dome Square, in the center of Old Riga. Each participant will receive a five-piece Santa suit 's including a festive red hat, coat, pants, a black belt, and a white beard. Participants are free to decorate their suit, adjust its size, and personalize it in any way they desire.

Did you always dream of a Santa with a purple beard?  Or perhaps a Santa wearing a "vainags?" Does your company wish to brandish its name across the back of dozens of Santa suits, for a merrily corporate Christmas?  This is the opportunity to let your fantasies run wild.
There will be prizes awarded for the best dressed Santa and for the best dressed team 's a further incentive to accentuate your costume with additional Christmas cheer. 

The Santa costume will be yours to keep, so you can dress up as Santa for years to come. Each time you wear the Santa suit, it will be a reminder of the small, rural Latvian children who received free medical care as a result of your participation in the Santa Fun Run. 
It costs 10 lats to participate in the Santa Fun Run. Santas are also urged to ask their friends and families for individual sponsorship donations, to raise more money for the charity. The money should be submitted to the Rotary Club by Jan. 15 's giving you plenty of time to collect donations from all your friends.
All Santas who raise sponsorship money of more than 25 LVL will receive a souvenir t-shirt.

The three kilometer long Santa Fun Run could also be a Santa Fun Walk for participants who prefer to take life at a slower pace. You can bring dogs, small children, and even wheelchairs.  No matter what speed you decide to go, it is sure to be a fantastic afternoon in the beautiful wintery streets of Riga.
The Santa Fun Run will begin and end in Dome Square. It will be carefully marked by marshals to ensure that Santa don't get off course. Finishing Santas will receive an exclusive commemorative medal.
The Santa Fun Run is also looking for companies to provide donations in the form of materials, cash, and prizes. 

You should register online in advance by filling out an easy application form. It is also recommended that you pick up your Santa suit ahead of time at the Maritim Park Hotel on Slokas Street to give you more time to personalize your suit.
The Baltic Times hopes to see you there for a joyful Christmas event you will remember for the rest of your life.

More information is available at