- Editor’s Note: Kane County Connects doesn’t often run news releases about individual businesses, but we couldn’t resist the pitch from freelance writer Mary Meyer: “Could you use a lighthearted article for Christmas Day? A story that epitomizes the spirit of giving — complete with running elves?” Plus, it gives Kane County Connects readers a shot at a free gift. Happy holidays!
For the seventh year, Eric Ott, owner/manager of Geneva Running Outfitters, is organizing a “Christmas Eve Elf Run.”
It begins early morning of Christmas Eve day — Monday, Dec. 24 — as staff dress as elves, Ott’s father dons a Santa costume and several bags are filled with presents. The Elf Run squad then head out (with Santa on a bicycle) to an undisclosed location in downtown Geneva to begin their run at 8 a.m.
Every early-morning runner, walker, shopper, diner or coffee shop patron they meet along way receives a random gift.
Last year, the group handed out 120 gifts along downtown streets and on the Fox River Trail. This year, the bags will be filled with treats ranging from candy canes to $70 pairs of sunglasses.
“We’ve never done this to promote the store — in fact, many of the people we give to don’t know who we are,” said Ott. “We just love to see the looks on people’s faces when we give them a gift for Christmas Eve. They feel good, we feel good — it’s just a great way to help our neighbors kick off the holiday.”
According to the running store’s Facebook page, about 270 people are hoping to “run into” Santa and his elves between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Christmas Eve day.
“People love it,” said Ott, who notes that the annual event has created a loyal following. “No one knows where we will be or when, so it’s part scavenger hunt, part ‘Where’s Waldo?’ as runners and walkers try to find us. We’ve actually heard from folks in years past that they’re bummed they missed us, and are committed to catching us next year.”
Geneva Running Outfitters is located at 221 W. State St. in Geneva.