It was 2:23 pm on Saturday, December 16th, 2000 and the crowd of holiday shoppers erupted into earth-shattering applause, screaming and cheering as five brave men ran past them on Newbury Street, Boston’s high-end shopping district, wearing nothing but Santa hats, Santa beards and Speedos.
What they didn’t know was that one month earlier, five friends were hanging out at The Sevens bar on Charles Street, as they did every Thursday. Bored with their weekly routine, they tried to think of something ridiculous to do for a laugh. After settling on Newbury Street and Speedos, they set out to recruit what they expected to be about 20 runners.
However, when they showed up at The Sevens that fateful Saturday afternoon, they found it was still just the five of them, frightened and so alone. Realizing what they were about to do, they settled into the bar to “summon up the courage” to carry out the plan.
At 2:20 pm, the five men, now down to their Speedos, hopped out of their friend’s car in front of the Four Seasons, slung a boombox playing The Muppets Christmas Carols over their arm, and began to run.
They didn’t know what to expect from their holiday stunt, but none could have predicted the overwhelmingly positive response they received. And when they finished, they knew they were on to something good. It became clear to them that they could leverage the enthusiasm from the event for a good cause. Thus, the SSRun was born.
In the years since that first run, the number of runners has increased exponentially from the original five to over 700 annual participants.
Over the past 13 years, the SSRun has raised over $1.4 million for various local children’s charities. As of 2012, the SSRun became aligned to the individual cause of raising money for Play Ball Foundation, which provides Boston middle school students with a chance to play, and build friendships and character through the lessons of sports - teamwork, communication and discipline.