A date has been set for this year's Aghagallon Santa Run.
Get your Christmas costume at the ready as this year’s Aghagallon Santa Run will take place on Sunday, December 5.
The event – which takes place in Lurgan Park – was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but makes a timely return with all proceeds going towards the Southern Area Hospice.
Speaking to Your Lurgan, event co-organiser Barry Shanks, revealed that the run has raised over £70,000 for the Hospice to date.
“We are pleased to announce that the run will take place on Sunday, 5th December at 10:30am in Lurgan Park,” he said.
“There are a couple of distances still to be confirmed but we will do this as soon as possible.
“We always work off donations with a minimum recommendation of £10. A lot of our participants get sponsor sheets and raise money for the Southern Area Hospice.
“There will be a couple of pre registration days to be confirmed and there’ll also be a JustGiving page set up as means of registering, which will help reduce congestion on the morning of the run/walk especially with social distancing.
“We always raise money for the Southern Area Hospice with the total amount being over £71,000 since the event started.”
Barry – who organises the event alongside Kevin McAlinden – was quick to thank volunteers for their hard work behind the scenes and remarked on last year’s virtual event which helped to keep spirits high during unprecedented times.
“The first run goes all the way back to 2006 when approximately 20 runners took to the roads around Aghagallon, with Kevin McAlinden and Martin McStay thinking of the idea whilst out running earlier that year,” he added.
“In 2019, we had our last actual run in Lurgan Park with 460 Santa’s taking part. However, last year due to Covid, we actually thought about giving it a complete miss for a year before deciding on holding a virtual event with everyone running on their own for one of the Santa medals and a fantastic amount of £5708 was collected for the SAH.
“We wouldn’t have any events without the brilliant volunteers who help out each year. We rely on people to help at registration, marshal around the course, cover at water stations, first aid cover, and to provide entertainment.
“Spot prizes and refreshments are also donated from regular participants and local businesses which we are thankful for.”
With runners and walkers encouraged to wear fancy dress – can we expect to have a visit from Father Christmas himself?
“We always encourage participants to at least wear a Santa hat with lots going further,” Barry continued.
“Last year during the virtual run we had some amazing photos sent in with people all dressed up in Christmas themed outfits.
“We have a lot of spot prizes that are drawn out at random so everyone has a chance of winning.
“All spot prizes are very kindly donated from local businesses and we try to encourage participation rather than winning.
“The event certainly helps everyone get into the Christmas spirit.
“The last few years we have been very lucky that Santa himself has taken time out of his busy schedule to hand out medals, so fingers crossed he can make it this year again.”
You can keep up-to-date with the latest developments from this year’s run at the ‘Aghagallon Santa Run’ Facebook page.