Santa Run boosts Riley efforts

The popular Christmas song is about “Run Run Rudolph,” but the Meridian Kiwanis wants you to be thinking “Run Run Santa.”

On Dec. 5, as Columbus ushers in the holiday season with the lighted Christmas parade and fireworks, the Kiwanis club is hoping you’ll start the day early by running a 5K in a Santa suit.

The inaugural Santa 5K Run/Walk for Riley Hospital for Children will offer registration at 9 a.m. followed by the 5K start at Hotel Indigo in downtown Columbus at 10 a.m., said Rick Siefert, president of the Columbus Meridian Kiwanis.

Only the first 200 entrants who pay the $35 entry fee receive a free Santa suit to wear while running, which includes a jacket, pants and belt.

The suit is lightweight, so if the weather is especially cold, runners might want to wear warm gear underneath the jolly elf suit, Siefert said.

All suits are being ordered in extra-large size so they will fit over regular running gear, he said.

Participants may register online at, and a $20 entry fee is available for those who don’t necessarily want to be in the Santa suit for the run.

However all participants are invited to bring their own holiday-wear to show off while they run, such as light-up Rudolph noses, Santa beards, reindeer antlers, elf costumes, Santa hats or whatever demonstrates some holiday spirit.

“We’ll all have some fun dressing up,” Siefert said.

Hotel Indigo and White River Running are partnering with the group for the holiday run.

The Meridian Kiwanis are planning refreshments and some fun holiday music at the finish line, he said.

All proceeds will go to help kids hospitalized at Riley.

How to sign up

Runners should visit to register online for the Dec. 5 Santa 5K Run/Walk for Riley Hospital for Children.

Cost is $20, but is $35 for those who want a Santa suit and are among the first 200 entries for the event.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.