Thursday April 17, 2014

Law students don Santa swimwear for good cause

Keith Anderson

Amanda James and Mardi Edmunds were part of a group of 40 TRU law students who sang songs while walking along Victoria Street.

They wore red Santa hats and gloves, festive bikinis and custom-made Speedos as they ran through the streets of downtown Kamloops on Sunday afternoon.

Although the 40 men and women are Thompson Rivers University students, the cold and quick sprint wasn't a campus prank or initiation.

The first Santa Swimsuit Run was a fundraiser, with TRU law students collecting $2,000 for the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation.

Co-organizer Stephanie Head said classmate Garrett Horvath wanted to raise money for a local cause. She heard of a Santa Swimsuit Run in Toronto and wanted to bring the concept to Kamloops.

She was pleased with how many of her colleagues were willing to take part, especially given the time of year, said Head.

"We originally were just going to go with 15 runners. We put it out to just law students and faculty and came back with 40 runners and supporters," she said.

The students and some family and friends gathered at The Commodore Grand Café and Lounge at about noon Sunday and changed from their warm clothes into swimwear. Some put on fake reindeer antlers. About half opted to run without shoes.

"Remind yourself it's for the children," one runner told another as they stepped into the cool afternoon air.

Head said the run was planned when Kamloops was in the grip of a cold snap, so the weather is more favourable than it could have been.

Chelsea Dubeau, a second-year student, likes to run, but she's used to doing it fully clothed and in good weather.

"Not in winter, and definitely not in a Kamloops winter," she said, adding it would be a new experience.

With an RCMP escort, the group embarked west on Victoria Street and sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as they ran.

The run included a loop through downtown and ended back at The Commodore.

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