‘Ready… Set…’ On December 19th they’ll be standing on the Grote Markt: 1000 Santa’s in starting position. They’re ready to run the Santa Run, a running event of either 2,6 or 5,2 km. A girl is adjusting her beard – which is already tickling – and a guy pulls up his red pants. ‘GO!’
The organisation of the Santa Run was inspired by the Antwerp version of the event. The Santa Run Groningen will take place on December 19. It’s not about the speed, but mainly about fun. So you definitely don’t have to be a marathon runner in order to sign up! The evening will start with a joint warming-up in front of the town hall, followed by the starting shot at 19.30 o’clock. The organisation has set up a fantastic route through the city, taking the participants along the Acadamy Building, the Hoge der A (where the Winterwelvaart is taking place at that time), the cosy Folkingestraat and the biggest shopping street in Groningen, the Herestraat. In case you have some energy left, you can do another lap. Oh and there will also be a Santa driving around in a carriage. After the finish you can do your cooling-down on the ice rink for free or dance your ass off at the DJ-stage on the Grote Markt, along with 999 other Santa’s.
The event is organised by Golazo Noord Nederland, which before was called Topsport Noord Nederland. Throughout the year they organise many running events in Groningen, such as the famous 4 Mijl, the Ladies Run and the Plantsoenloop. Every event is connected to a charity. For the Santa Run, they’ve chosen for the Food Bank Groningen. Elske Dijkstra, project manager of the Santa Run, tells us: ‘Every year after the 4 Mijl we bring the left over packed lunches to the Food Bank Groningen. That’s how we got in touch. We wanted to do more for the Food Bank. Especially in December their clients could use some extra help.’
At the start you have the possibility to donate money and every participant should bring a product for the Food Bank. Check their list of suggested gifts here. You will make them very happy with children’s tooth paste and diapers. ‘One in five children in Groningen grows up in poverty’, says Ulfert Molenhuis, president of the Food Bank Groningen. ‘They are underprivileged, without the ability to do something about it. Every day we fill two trucks with food from supermarkets to counteract food waste and to give 600 poor families in Groningen weakly one package of food.’ Participating in the Santa Run is a fun way to help these poor families.
The 1000 Santa’s will be finishing enthusiastically. The music will be turned on, the ice rink opened and everyone will get a (beautiful) medal. The final toothbrushes and muesli packages will be handed in and then the 1000 Santa’s will start dancing on the Grote Markt. Do you want to experience Groningen in this magical way? Sign up here for only 15 euros.
By Lucia Grijpink
Photo via Rotary Santa Run