Running for a good Claus in Sheffield

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Christmas came early in Sheffield as hundreds of Santas in red suits raced through the city centre for charity.

Angels, fairies, elves and Christmas puddings got in on the action too as the British Heart Foundation’s annual Santa Jog kicked off in a flurry of fake snowfall from Tudor Square yesterday morning.

The Santa Jog gets underway

The Santa Jog gets underway

Jo Strong , organiser of the festive one-mile dash, said: “We had an incredible turnout – more than 400 people, and we just couldn’t be more thrilled with the support.

“We had got babies, elderly people, even dogs taking part and there was such a great festive family atmosphere.

“It was lovely to see so many people supporting such a worthy cause – whether they’ve been touched themselves by heart disease, know somebody who has or just feel they want to get behind this incredible event.”

The event kicked off with a mass warm-up outside the Winter Gardens and a pre-race costume competition.

Among those getting ready to run was 23-month-old Billy Durdey and his grandmother Janice.

Billy, who was dressed for the occasion as a red and green elf, even scooped a prize in the fancy dress contest.

Janice, aged 60, of Firth Park, said: “We’re here for Billy’s daddy, my son, Andrew who had to have a heart operation when Billy was just a baby.

“We’re supporting this wonderful cause for him.

“Andrew’s health is wonderful now and we’re so grateful to the work being done by the British Heart Foundation.

“There was a brilliant atmosphere, really electric.”

Margaret Booth, 65, of Westfield, was racing for her husband Colin, 74, who has been battling heart problems for a number of years.

She said: “It’s so important people come together and promote the work the BHF does.

“It’s uplifting to see so many people – it is a brilliant event.

“Colin is the one who really wanted to race, so our dog Loui and I attended to run with him and support him.”

Mark Boylan, 48, of Lowfield, was running with four-year-old daughter Sophia.

He said: “We’re running because it’s such a good cause, not because we know anyone particularly affected by heart disease.

“We thought it sounded like so much fun to come and get all dressed up and take part in such a lovely event, all raising money for a great charity.”

Keith Barraclough, 64, of Mosborough, was racing with his wife and friends, after struggling with heart disease himself for years.

He said: “We took part in the event last year for the first time and enjoyed it so much we had to come back this year.

“I honestly wouldn’t be here without the work being done by the British Heart Foundation so I’m thrilled to show my support.”

The race was officially set off by Rachel Wylde and her 11-year-old daughter Molly, who was diagnosed with a heart defect shortly after she was born.

Forty-year-old Rachel, originally of Sheffield and now living in Chesterfield, said: “We were told Molly had pulmonary stenosis, which is a narrowing of the valve from her heart to her lungs.

“She had that fixed more than a decade ago.

“However, five months ago, we discovered she has a hole in her heart, so she’ll be going in for heart surgery again in six weeks time.

“This event is incredible and knowing that the money raised will go to fund research to development treatments for children just like Molly is absolutely wonderful.”