Christmas is coming early to Rotorua.

Santas will be out in force, pounding the pavement, while raising money to help benefit local children.

The Great NZ Santa Run concept is simple: a fun run/walk in a Santa suit.

Funds will go to the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

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(From left) Kiwi Can tutor Kihi Wihapi, Kiwi Can tutor Cori Maroroa, volunteer Ashton Kusabs, Graeme Dingle Foundation regional manager Megan Kusabs and event manager Ben Alton. Photo / Stephen Parker
(From left) Kiwi Can tutor Kihi Wihapi, Kiwi Can tutor Cori Maroroa, volunteer Ashton Kusabs, Graeme Dingle Foundation regional manager Megan Kusabs and event manager Ben Alton. Photo / Stephen Parker

Started in 2008 by Lactic Turkey Events, the Santa Run has grown from an Auckland-only event to one held nationwide.

Event manager Ben Alton said Rotorua Trail Running Club was asked to organise the local event.

"I'm hoping lots of people who come for the Night Market will come early and go for a run first."

Alton said the club liked the thought of getting behind a foundation that supported children.

He challenged Rotorua to beat Tauranga's entry numbers.

Alton said people were encouraged to dress up in any Christmas costumes, not just as Santa, and he already knew someone going as the Grinch.

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Megan Kusabs, Graeme Dingle Foundation regional manager for Rotorua, said the foundation was grateful to be supported by the fundraiser.

Kusabs said the Graeme Dingle Foundation provided a range of personal development programmes for children and young people, including Kiwi Can for primary and intermediate age pupils.

There are currently three Kiwi Can schools in Rotorua - Horohoro School, Sunset Primary School and Kaitao Intermediate.

"We would like to be expanding and to take on more schools going forward, to support the young people in our community."

Each adult entrant receives a free Santa suit as part of the entry fee and children get a hat.

The courses are kept easy.

THE DETAILS
What: The Great New Zealand Santa Run
When: Thursday December 6, 6.30pm
Where: Rotorua Village Green and Lakefront
• For details and to register go to www.santarun.co.nz