Thousands of jolly joggers descended on Clapham Common on Sunday for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children’s Charity’s annual Santa Dash.
You may be forgiven for thinking his reindeer were on strike as thousands of Father Christmases wheezed and panted their way around a festive themed course, with participants running either 5km or 10km to raise a healthy pot of crucial cash.
The event was kicked off by 11-year-old Arun, from Wokingham, Berkshire, who has been a patient at GOSH most of his life. The youngster suffers from a kidney condition which means he’ll eventually need a transplant, but that didn’t stop GOSH’s little helper from completing the race in double-quick time.
Arun’s father, Simon Corcoran, said: “If it wasn’t for the brilliant staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Arun wouldn’t be here today. Taking part in this event is a thank you to the hospital for all they’ve done for Arun and what they’ll continue to do.”
The money raised will go to the hospital’s play team, who will use it to make sure kids like Arun can still have fun while they’re in hospital, helping them to continue their childhood despite the most adverse circumstances.
This was Arun and his father’s third year running through the south London park, which was transformed into a winter wonderland. A brass band, carol singers and a snow machine greeted the spluttering St Nicks at the finish.
Claire Cole, who participated as captain of the LSE Hockey Club, said: “The day was so much fun. It was great seeing lots of people dressed up in Santa costumes and to be a part of it. The warm-up already had people excited for the run.
“It felt like everyone was in a great mood during the race; there were bands playing Christmas songs and supporters dressed as elves to keep us motivated. Our group got some warm beverages and mince pies after we finished and we spent some time exploring Winterville.
“Overall, a great day for a great cause. Running this race to support GOSH was a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas for what it is truly about.”
The event also attracted many from the health community. Erin Smith and her team ‘The Jolly Joggers’ are all nursing students and had a very special reason to run.
“The Santa Dash was a great idea due to the fact that two out of five of us were on placement at GOSH during the run. So, we were running for the children we were looking after, and to join in with the hospital spirit.”
How did Erin feel after the event? She said: “Sore! I haven’t run in months and thought it would be alright to run with no prep. Wrong; I am now struggling to walk down the stairs. However, I am really proud of myself and my team for completing the 5km in under 40 minutes.
And I know it is all worth the pain for Great Ormond Street Hospital.”
Tim Johnson, chief executive of GOSH, thanked everybody who attended the festive fun run, which was held in conjunction with Galliard Homes.
He said it was “fantastic” to see so many Santas running around Clapham Common.
The Father Christmas army certainly seems to have delivered once again this year.