6th Dec, 2016

Santas make a dash to the Valley for a good cause

Aaron Wise 20th Dec, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

AS THE COUNTDOWN to Christmas continues, The Valley got into the festive spirit with a Santa Dash in aid of St Richard’s Hospice.

Observer reporter Aaron Wise was one of those who donned the famous red and white outfit to put his best foot forward for charity.

WHEN I first heard about The Valley’s inaugural charity ‘Santa Dash’ through a friend, I jumped at the chance to take part.

After all, how can you embrace Christmas spirit anymore than donning the boots and beard of the jolly man himself, while raising vital funds for charity.

So on a cold and damp Sunday December, 6 morning, I teamed up with more than 300 young and old Santa’s across the Vale to create a sea of red and white, in aid of St Richard’s Hospice.

To be honest I just wanted to be apart of the spectacle and had no real preparation for the multi-terrain 5K run ahead, around The Valley and along the Avon.

My friend I ran – or stumbled through – the course with is big on fitness and came prepared with thermals and water. Beneath my Santa outfit was a pair of shorts and a footy top, with a belly full of Chinese food and beer from the night before. As I said, I wasn’t prepared.

However, the warmth and enjoyment from all involved managed to take your mind away from the elements, and carry you through. I was quite surprised with the team effort of those ahead who shouted out warnings of large puddles or deep mud approaching, and the older runners who stopped to help children get safely up the banks of the river and through the woods.

We weren’t just dressed the same, we were acting as a unit, a team and it showed when we all finished together and celebrated on what was a not an easy, but very fun run.

Maria Hughes, The Valley centre manager said: “It was a monumental morning and was humbling to see so many people making the effort for such a great cause.”

All in all it was a great day out for runners, spectators and everyone who got involved one way or another.

And for those who crossed the finish line with their beard on back to front, ripped trousers, numb legs and covered in mud like me, think about what the expected £6,000 raised will go to in helping those with life-threatening illnesses this Christmas.

Plans are already in the pipeline to build on the event for 2016 and you can look up Santa Dash on Facebook to see more images from the day.