Christmas has come early for St Giles Hospice and its army of festive fundraisers with the news that the popular annual Rudolph Run will be going ahead this year – even though it might be slightly different!
The fancy dress fun run is set to take place on Sunday, 6th December starting from 9am in the grounds of Tamworth Castle, but running the public event will depend upon the COVID-19 restrictions in place on that date.
However, even if lockdown is extended or the rules in December mean that public gatherings cannot go ahead, then runners will be still get the opportunity to dress up and take part in Rudolph Run 2020.
Everyone who signs up will get a special pack containing special local route maps, Rudolph Run antlers, finisher medals and certificates so they can take part in the run in their own time and their own community.
Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to be able to announce that our Rudolph Run is going ahead, as the fancy dress event traditionally marks the true start of Christmas for many of our supporters.
“We’re hoping that our wonderful runners will kick off their festive season this year by signing up for this year’s event. Whether together at Tamworth Castle or in your own local park, we want to turn our community festive and get everybody Rudolph Running regardless of where they are!
“This year at Tamworth Castle we will have one 6km route which is suitable for individuals and families of all ages and abilities and if restrictions stop us getting together then 6km routes in local parks around the region have been mapped out so that no-one misses out.”
One runner who will definitely be joining in this year is retired teacher Alison Dolphin, from Tamworth. Alison took part in her first Rudolph Run in 2019 after supporting St Giles for many years as a member of the Peel Road Runners, who organise the annual Tamworth Gate Gallop in aid of the hospice.
Alison said: “It’s absolutely amazing to hear that the Rudolph Run is going ahead – it’s a wonderful event with such a lovely atmosphere and I’ll definitely be signing up. Like so many runners I’ve really missed being able to take part in events this year so after all the cancellations and disappointments it’s great to be able to end the year with a bit of light relief.
“The Rudolph Run is such a special event in aid of a great local cause so I’d urge everybody to sign up – it doesn’t matter what your age or ability is, everybody’s really friendly and they all cheer you on.”
Alison and her family were given first-hand experience of the care that St Giles offers in 2013 when her husband Mike was diagnosed with throat cancer and began treatment at the hospice.
She added: “It was a very difficult time and we thought it was all doom and gloom, but the staff at St Giles were so lovely and supportive and really helped us through. We have a special link to St Giles because Mike worked at the NEC at the time and his colleagues gave up their holidays to come to St Giles and build the Mike Dolphin Garden to thank the hospice for his care.
“Luckily Mike has been able to keep his cancer at bay but his illness is life-limiting and my best friend is going through cancer treatment at the moment.
“You never know when you, your family or friends might need hospice care, but it’s such a comfort to know that St Giles is there when you need it. The support you get is outstanding and we are so lucky to have this wonderful facility on our doorstep.”
Registration for the Rudolph Run will close at midday on Friday 4th December and entry costs £15 for adults aged 11 and above, £10 for children aged 5-10 and £2 for children under 5. Dogs are welcome on a lead. Everyone taking part will receive a winners’ medal, certificate and festive treats.
St Giles Hospice will ensure the event site meets COVID-19 safety measures, extending the event duration to ensure that Rudolph Runners can maintain space and distance from one another while supporting their local hospice. All runners will be able to book a specific arrival time slot.
Chloe added: “We’re doing our very best to make sure our Rudolph Run can go ahead safely – we think everyone is in need of a little festive cheer this year! However, if there is any reason – outside of our control – that means we’re unable to get together at Tamworth Castle, we are determined make sure that Rudolph Run still goes ahead and everyone in our community can still take part.”