Catch that pudding if you can!
Sheffield folk are getting ready to dust off their festive costumes for the city’s annual Santa Jog.
But while the streets will once again become a sea of red and white suits on the day of the event in less than eight weeks’ time, this year there’s a twist.
Runners will be tasked with chasing a plucky volunteer dressed as a giant Christmas pudding over two laps around the city centre, raising thousands in sponsorship money for the British Heart Foundation - and entrants are being urged to put their names down now.
Cardiac rehabilitation instructor Jo Strong, from Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre, is organising the race for the first time this year on December 8, and said she wants to recruit as many participants as possible.
“You can run or walk, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, it’s for everybody,” said Jo.
“The majority of people who take part have been touched by heart disease, or their families have, which makes it very moving, and the ages range so much. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been affected as a young child or an older adult, it’s the idea of giving something back that’s important.
“It’s still a one-mile run or walk, but it’s a little bit different this year as we’re chasing a pudding!”
Great-grandfather Bert Marsh, aged 88, from Waterthorpe, said he has been taking part in the Santa Jog - billed as Sheffield Chase the Pud 2013 - since being given a new heart valve and undergoing a bypass operation four-and-a-half years ago.
“Exercise keeps you going, it’s something for you to do,” said Bert, a retired mechanical engineer who attends a regular circuit training class run by Jo.
“I like helping the heart foundation because they do a lot of good work.”
Bert’s friend David Brown, 71, from Gleadless Valley, who is also a member of Jo’s group, said: “I had a heart attack at 53, a quadruple bypass operation at 54, I’ve had two stents fitted and I had a heart attack last New Year’s Day.
“The heart’s a pump, and when that stops, we stop. The jog is just very enjoyable, we like the cameraderie and getting dressed up as Father Christmas.”
The race starts in Tudor Square, outside the Winter Garden, at 11am. A mass warm-up is being held for the Santas, while the Dearne Big Band will be on hand to play festive tunes.
Coun Vickie Priestley, Sheffield’s Lord Mayor, helped to launch the event yesterday. She said: “Events like these are vital. I would like to thank the volunteers for taking the time to organise this important fundraising event, I’m sure it will be great fun and very successful.”
Prizes will be awarded to the person raising the most sponsorship and children wearing the most festive costumes.
Proceeds will go towards research into illnesses including coronary heart disease, the UK’s biggest killer condition.
Entry costs £10 for adults and young people aged 14 or over. Kids under 14 can enter for free by wearing fancy dress, accompanied by a paying adult. Call Jo on 07912 158478 or visit www.bhf.org.uk/sheffieldsantajog for information.