The Saturday before Christmas will be just as fun as last year in Leeuwarden. The Santa Run will take place again! A legion of hikers, runners, people with rollators and wheelchairs – all dressed as Santa Claus – will festively march through the city. All for charity. This year the charity will be TOF Vakanties from Grou.
By: Else Rietveld – Photos: Remco Veldman – Translation: Nathalie van den Berg
Last year approximately 600 people joined the Santa Run and raised €20.000 for Stichting Spelend Sporten. This voluntary organization organizes sport-and playful activities for people with a mental disability. ,,We didn’t expect that so much money would be raised. It was great that Spelend Sporten was chosen as charity for the Santa Run. We are thankful for anything we can get”, says Ingrid Poorte, board member of the organization. After a year she still speaks enthusiastic about the event.
,,People with mental disabilities can’t always go to regular sport clubs”, she says. ,,Furthermore, the government cuts have led to a limited budget for these people. Thanks to our volunteers and the donations we receive, we can offer affordable leisure activities at Spelend Sporten to them. There are weekly activities such as indoor football, badminton, aerobics, swimming, checkers, and judo.”
Frisian Ice Skating Fun
,,With the money raised by the Santa Run we can keep the contribution low. We also finance the ice skating from this. Generally speaking, this is an expensive sport, due to the rent of the ice skating hall and the skates. Those costs can’t be covered by our regular contribution. Thanks to the proceeds of the Santa Run the ice skating can continue and many members can enjoy this activity. You should see how joyful they are when they are on the ice! It is priceless.”
Surprises yet to come
From the proceeds they were able to purchase new training suits, they could send their volunteers to follow a workshop about autism, and the badminton players could attend the 3-day Special Olympic National Games. There is still some money left, but the destination for this is being kept a secret for a little while longer.
The Rotary Leeuwarden, who organize the yearly Santa Run, is currently preparing for the run which will be held on December 22nd. Rob Lijzenga is one of the members. ,,We strive towards raising at least the same amount of money as last year. It is good to know that the Santa Claus-suits are the only costs for us. The remainders of the enrollment fees, the lottery, the proceeds from the afterparty and the money of the sponsors will be given to the charity. We know the charities that we support. They are beautiful and trustworthy organizations. The money will be spent well. And of course we are looking forward to a beautiful party with everyone!”
More information about participating in the Santa Run and where to collect the Santa Claus suits, can be found on: www.santarunleeuwarden.nl.