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Claus country runner! Cobble Hill ‘Santa’ jogs Brooklyn Bridge every Christmas

Brooklyn Daily
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Santa Claus is coming to town — and he’s running in, right over the Brooklyn Bridge.

On Christmas morning, life-long Cobble Hill resident Frederick Trilli will continue his 15-year holiday tradition by running over the landmarked bridge suited up from head to toe as jolly old Saint Nick.

“Christmas comes once a year and it makes me feel like a kid again — it’s a good feeling,” said Trilli, a 66-year-old avid runner who bought a Santa suit in 1997 after seeing some Noel-themed races across the borough.

Trilli, who has completed 21 marathons and run over the 1.1-mile bridge hundreds of times, said he didn’t know what to expect the first time he strode over the national icon wearing a white beard.

“A run that usually takes 20 minutes turned into an hour because people wanted to take pictures with me,” said Trilli, who added that tourists visiting the 129-year-old bridge get a kick out of him. “It became very popular and people were happy and laughing.”

The retired United Parcel Service driver said that because his debut as Santa was such a hit, he turned it into a Yuletide tradition and has made the run every year since, in rain, shine, and snow.

“Christmas is all about giving and not taking,” said Trilli. “I’m not only doing it for myself — I’m doing it for the kids out there who want to see Santa Claus on Christmas.”

Just hours after the real Santa finishes his marathon trip down chimneys across the world, the Henry Street resident hits the pavement with bells tied to his sneakers as onlookers beep their car horns and cheer him on.

“I feel like a movie star,” said Trilli, a Central Park Track Club member.

And he’s had just as many wardrobe changes!

Trilli has gone through eight Santa suits over the past 15 years, saying he avoids washing the festive attire because “the red will run.”

And he says he plans to keep up his Christmas ritual “until the man upstairs tells me I can’t run any more.”

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at

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