Jump off the sleigh for KidsCan

By Sandra Conchie

Western Bay residents can kick off the festive season by dressing like the jolly man in red and joining in The Great KidsCan Santa Run.

Santa runs are held annually at 10 centres across the country in a bid to raise money and awareness for the KidsCan charity, which works to fight child poverty.

An estimated 270,000 Kiwi kids are living below the poverty line.

In Mount Maunganui on Wednesday evening the 2 to 3km run/walk will start and finish near the surf life saving club on the Main Mount Beach.

Organisers are encouraging businesses, families and groups of friends to get behind the event, which last year attracted 2000 participants nationwide, including 165 Santas in Tauranga.

Organisers are hoping to double the number this year.

Dennis de Monchy, a member of the Tauranga off-road runners group, is helping organise the Santa run.

Mr de Monchy said the event was open to all ages as long as participants wore a santa or Christmas-themed suit.

"People can embellish their suits and costumes as much as they like.

"Last year we didn't only have Santas but elves, reindeer, Mrs Clauses, and I think we even had a couple of lovely angels. It's brilliant family fun and it's all for a great cause," he said.

Mr de Monchy said participants could run, walk, skip or hop - finishing the course however they liked.

Prizes will be awarded for the fastest male, female and child, the best dressed adult and child santas and the best all-round corporate team.

Mr de Monchy expected competition for the fastest santa title to be fierce, with some very fast santas headed to Tauranga.

Every $28 adult entry fee entitles the entrant to a free Santa suit, complete with hat and beard, to be collected from the registration stand on event day.

The $10 fee for children does not include a Santa suit.

KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman said the event was a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit with friends, family or work colleagues, whilst raising funds for a great cause.

To pre-register visit www.santarun.co.nz.

Registration will be open on the day from 5pm to 6.15pm on the Main Mount Beach. This will be followed by a race briefing at 6.20pm.

Racing begins at 6.30pm, followed by prizegiving at 7.15pm.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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