Don your red suit for annual Santa Run in Arlington Heights
More than 1,000 runners clad in Santa suits are expected to fill the streets of downtown Arlington Heights once again next weekend for the return of the Rotary Santa Run.
It's the 14th annual running of the 5K, which is the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights' signature fundraiser for its local and international initiatives.
Last year's race was a virtual event, where participants could still make donations, pick up Santa suits, and run routes on their own. Now club organizers are making one last big promotional push to remind people the race is back on Saturday, Dec. 4 (with a virtual option).
"We wanted to do it," Rick Koebernick, the race organizer and club president-elect, said of the event's in-person return. "I think it'll be good just because people want to get outside again, and it is an outdoor thing. I was pretty excited to have it again."
The day starts at 9:30 a.m. with a one-block "Reindeer Run" sprint for children 10 and younger. Reindeer antlers and a red nose come with every registration.
Then the 5K run (or a shorter 1-mile walking route) kicks off at 10 a.m. from the corner of Campbell Street and Highland Avenue.
Participants who register online can pick up registration packets and Santa suits (in sizes S to XXXL) from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, and Friday, Dec. 3, at the Arlington Ridge Center, 660 N. Ridge Ave. Day-of-race pickup is also available from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre.
The Rotary Club is offering a $100 family rate for advance online registration until Dec. 3 at rotarysantarun.org. It's $40 for individual runners until Dec. 3 or $45 on the day of the race. Sponsors pay for the costs of the race, but all registration fees go straight to charitable causes, Koebernick said.
Koebernick's goal is to raise $40,000 this year. Since the race began, the club has raised $250,000. Recently, money has gone to food pantries, packing Thanksgiving meals, buying eyeglasses for schoolchildren, and a winter clothing drive.