READY, steady, ho ho ho!
More than 200 runners of all ages dressed as Father Christmas to take part in a record-breaing Santa Dash in aid of St Luke’s Hospice in Kenton.
Each of the 228 participants sported a red cloak with white trim, floppy hat and white beard while making their way around a three-and-a-half mile route through the streets of Kenton, which began and ended at Claremont High School in Claremont Avenue.
Clive Gerner, community fundraiser for St Luke’s Hospice, said: “It was a good spectacle and there was a really good vibe and atmosphere. The sports hall was heaving with Santas – from the young to the old, school groups, families and dog walkers were there.”
The Mayor of Brent, Councillor Aslam Choudry, gave a warm-up speech before starting the race and each competitor was rewarded with a finisher’s medal, a hot drink and a mince pie from the ‘real’ Father Christmas at the finishing line.
Salvatorian College pupil Joe Gammell, 15, beat the college’s head of physical education, Shane Davey, to first place after they competed against each other to see who would win.
Mr Davey said: “We were neck and neck and then he just pulled away at the end – even though I headed through a side gate. Joe runs for Harrow Athletics Club and he’s a great kid. He came second last year, so it’s fitting he won, in about 25 minutes.
“We had a number of teachers and pupils running from the college as we really support St Luke’s.”
The Santa Dash proceeds will go towards the Kenton Grange-based hospice’s £250,000 fundraising appeal, launched to coincide with its 25th anniversary and backed by the Observer's own Showing We Care readers’ campaign.
Money from the event has already exceeded proceeds from last year and is expected to reach about £20,000, but donations are still being counted.