A herd of over 445 Rudolph runners and trotters, all dressed in their festive best, were on the streets of St Albans on Sunday 1 December as they took part in Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s annual 5K Rudolph Run and 1.5K family fun run.
Kitted out in Christmas jumpers, antlers, Santa hats, scarves and costumes, adults, children and dogs went all out to dress to impress!
After a up-tempo warm up led by Joanna Hancock from Everyone Active that generated a sea of bobbing antlers, mums and dads, grannies and granddads, friends, brothers and sisters, dogs and lots and lots of children lined up at the start of the fun run looking every inch the part in their matching antlers.
Ian Beckles on the steel drum added to the sense of occasion as he played an incredible array of catchy and up-beat tunes prompting the crown to dance along to the rhythm.
After a group cheer they were off! Among the crowd were Angie Wong and Steven Zhang with their 5-year old son Byron who were all taking part for the first time. Also getting involved were Rebekah and Samuel Tester (3) who added a sprinkle of Santa’s style to their reindeer antlers.
The Holmer family from St Albans accompanied by their dog Biscuit cheered on family members and the Blakeway-Elys - Janine, Paul, Beatrix and Reuben - headed off in matching pyjamas.
“Santa” was joined by Beth, Albie, babies Louis and Teddy along with Jake, Brodie, Abbie and Rob. The friends all from St Albans were in high spirits as they too set off en masse.
Almost as quick as they had started the first of the fun arrived back to whoops and cheers from the crowd at the finish line. They were greeted by St Albans City and District Mayor, Cllr Janet Smith who awarded their medals.
Next to warm up were the 5K runners, each and every one of them sporting an amazing outfit. One of the first to get into the festive spirit was Justine Anderson from Shenley who beamed from the moment she set off until the moment she crossed the finish line.
Canine pals Lottie and Hugo were delighted to see their human families – Hayley and Ben Jackson along with Becky Anderson and Matthew Pearson - as they effortlessly crossed the finish line.
Sisters Ella and Annie Boon were greeted by their proud parents and Muffin the puppy. “Ella wanted us to do something today and found out at the Rudolph Run so here we are,” explained their Mum.
Julie and Neil are usually accompanied by their children but in a break in family tradition they ran as a couple this time. Steve and Jo Walsh found themselves in the same boat: “Our kids have their own things to do now they’re older but we still wanted to do the run – it’s for such a great cause,” Steve explained.
Maggie Joines was one of the team of super volunteers at the event, helping the runners to register and collect antlers. She said: “It’s an amazing cause to raise funds for and so much fun too.”
Claire Redrup, Head of Community Fundraising at Rennie Grove Hospice Care said: “The turnout for our Rudolph Run today was brilliant. It’s been a great way to start the countdown to Christmas. A massive thanks to everyone who participated and also to the Mayor and spectators who came to cheer on the runners. This event raises vital funds that supports the care we provide for patients to help them live the best quality life they can with a choice about how and where they are cared for towards the end of life.
“Thanks also to our headline and medal sponsors, Blanco, to Waterend Barn for hosting us, to Greggs and AF Blakemore (Spar) who kindly donated mince pies and to the Snow Centre for the highest fundraising prize. We also want to say a special thank you to our fantastic volunteers – including the Blood Bikers and our compere Lee Partridge - who helped with registration, entertaining the crowd and marshalling the route to keep our runners safe. We are really grateful to everyone for making today such a great success.”